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Citrus Kid Earns Shot at Big Leagues

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC
Grade 1 stakes-placed on turf, Citrus Kid will enter Grade 1 action on dirt in Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. The 6-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid earned a start in the 1 1/8-mile handicap for older horses with a sharp allowance score over Gulfstream’s main track in his first start in 15 months.

“Since he came out of that race so well, we were looking for a spot. He was training so well, why not give him a shot at a big one?” trainer John Terranova said. “He couldn’t be coming into it any better.”

Citrus Kid, who set a pressured pace in the one-turn mile allowance over the main track on Dec. 19 before holding off heavily favored El Padrino, hadn’t raced since finishing second in a turf stakes at Parx in September 2011.

“They ran on a very boggy course that day, and he came out with a soft tissue injury,” Terranova said. “He had a tendon injury that required a lot of time and rehab. Since he’s come back he’s had no setbacks. He’s been fantastic.”

Citrus Kid had success on dirt early in his career, breaking his maiden and capturing the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park during his 2-year-old season. After a third in the Remsen (G2) and finishing out of the money in the Lecomte (G3), he was switched to turf, over which he’s won twice and finished second in the Jamaica (G1).

Heading into the Donn, Terranova still is not certain if his veteran performer prefers turf or dirt.

“I don’t know for sure. We’ll let him tell us, but it’s nice to have the option to jump back to a different surface if needed,” he said. “We’ll give him a chance to show how good he is on dirt, at least for right now.”

After losing Citrus Kid for 15 months, Terranova is happy to have him back in his barn no matter what surface he prefers.

“He was just starting to come into his own. Lemon Drop Kids get better with age. That was the latter part of his 4-year-old year, and he was just really starting to show big promise,” he said. “We were hopefully on the road to doing some good things, and we got sidetracked. Hopefully, we’re back and we can make up for lost time.”

Terranova also has a promising 3-year-old in his stable in Falling Sky, who captured a Gulfstream allowance race on Dec 15 before capturing the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday. His next start is still up in the air.

“We haven’t figured it out yet. He went back to the track today. He looks great. Several options will be there for everybody, so we’ll see what makes sense going forward. We’ll talk it over with the owners and see what everyone’s comfortable with,” Terranova said. “Of course, we’ll let the horse lead us there. We’ll probably have more direction in the next week or so.”

 

 

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