The $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on
Saturday will be the highlight of this week’s action at Gulfstream Park, but
fans will have plenty to watch beginning Wednesday with the card featuring
Barbaro’s 3-year-old full-brother Lentenor tested in a turf allowance race and
Overbrook Farm’s highly-promising 5-year-old Battle Plan in a main track
allowance on Thursday among the high points.
Leading jockey John R. Velazquez and leading trainer Todd
Pletcher team up with Battle Plan Thursday making only the fourth start of his
career in the ‘two other than’ optional/allowance feature at 1 1/8 miles after
his very impressive victory winning a one-mile allowance on Jan. 8 by 3 ¼
lengths in his first start in nearly a year.
Battle Plan is a regally-bred Empire Maker horse out of
Overbrook’s 1994 Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly Flanders, but he showed
little finishing eighth of nine after a bad gate experience in his career debut
in November of 2008 at Churchill Downs. He came back for his second start here
on Jan. 16, 2009 and broke his maiden by 7 ¾ lengths going a mile before the
lengthy layoff to this season.
Battle Plan’s six rivals include two 4-year-olds that were
high-profile potential Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls at this time last year. Jockey
Rajiv Maragh rides Lally Stable’s Saratoga Sinner for trainer Eddie Kenneally
and Jose Lezcano will be aboard Lansdon Robbins III and Sam Delaney’s Danger to
Society for trainer Rick Dutrow.
Saratoga Sinner went from breaking his maiden in his third
career start here last year on Jan. 7 to winning the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) 3 ½
weeks later, but didn’t run again until a dull sixth-place finish in the Jim
Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 1. The son of Harlan’s Holiday
has struggled in five starts since then, most recently finishing fifth and
fourth in allowance races at this meet.
Danger to Society was impressive winning his first two
career starts at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old and his 3-year-old debut early
last year here for trainer Ken McPeek. Also a son of Harlan’s Holiday,
Danger to Society was sent into the Holy Bull as the 9-to-5 favorite, but
finished seventh behind Saratoga Sinner, obviously not on his best game.
Transferred to Dutrow after the Holy Bull, Danger to
Society made only one more start last year, finishing ninth of 10 behind Papa
Clem in the Arkansas Derby (G2) at Oaklawn
on Apr. 11 before being sent to the sidelines for the rest of the season.
Completing the field for Thursday’s race are Ken and Sarah
Ramsey’s Headache, Julien Leparoux; Carolyn Chapman’s Atlantic Paws, J.A.
Garcia; Tomisue Hilbert and John Menard’s Chris Got Even, Javier Castellano;
and Thor-Bred Stable’s Beresford, Joe Bravo.
Striking Dancer Captures La Canada
for McPeek Sunday
Trainer Ken McPeek has the main division of his powerful
stable in South Florida divided between Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows, but
he also has a smaller string campaigning at Santa Anita this winter, and scored
a big victory there Sunday when Stevestan Stable’s 4-year-old filly Striking
Dancer posted a 13-to-1 upset in the $150,000 La Canada Stakes (G2) with jockey
Alex Solis aboard.
Striking Dancer is a chestnut daughter of Smart Strike and
was impressive winning an allowance on turf at Gulfstream last winter. She went
into the La Canada after a very rough trip when seventh in a Santa Anita
allowance on Jan. 8. The victory was the second from just 13 starts at the meet
for McPeek, who also saddled Livin the Dream Stable’s Dream Empress to finish
sixth in the La Canada.
Trainer Bill Mott also has a small satellite division at
Santa Anita this winter and sent out Peter Vegso and Gary Seidler’s Unrivaled
Belle to finish fourth in the La Canada with Kent Desormeaux also making the
trip from Gulfstream for stakes mounts over the three-day holiday weekend.
Desormeaux rides Wachtel Stable and partners’ 3-year-old
Raging Wit for Mott in Monday’s $150,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2) at seven
furlongs. The son of Distorted Humor finished seventh in the Dania Beach Stakes
on turf at Gulfstream last out on Jan. 16, although beaten only 3 ¼ lengths by
There were several other Gulfstream connections in the La
Canada, including IEAH Stables and partners’ Stardom Bound finishing seventh as
the favorite for trainer Rick Dutrow with Julien Leparoux flying out to ride in
stakes events Saturday and Sunday.