Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s 3-year-old Csaba (pronounced SHABA)
is by turf champion Kitten’s Joy, a proven sire of top turf runners, and
expectations by his connections last year at Calder Race Course were
that his future would most likely be in grass races.
However, circumstances caused Csaba to make his first three starts
on the main track at Calder last year. He’s now set for the biggest
challenge of his young career when he goes to the post for next Sunday’s
$400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) going 1 1/16 miles
at Gulfstream Park.
“He is by Kitten’s Joy and we tried to go right to turf for his
first start,” said trainer Phil Gleaves Saturday morning. “That race was
forced off turf as were the next two that he won impressively. He ran
well enough back on the turf in the Dania Beach (fifth), but we’ve
decided his wins on the main track were good enough to give him a chance
in the Fountain of Youth, fully recognizing what a tough spot it is.
“He breezed a half-mile here (Calder) in 50 4/5 this morning. He’s
ready to go. We still haven’t decided on a rider just year.” Csaba will
be a longshot in a field expected to be led by Chadds Ford Stable’s
Union Rags, Starlight Stable’s Algorithms and E. Paul Robsham Stable’s
Gleaves has been best known in recent years for the accomplishments
of Quantum Racing Team #1’s 7-year-old gelding Mambo Meister, a multiple
graded stakes-winner on turf and dirt with earnings of more than
$700,000, and he is nominated for the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2)
to be run at 1 3/8 miles on turf on Fountain of Youth Day.
“We’ve talked about trying him in a longer race for some time and
this may be the time,” said Gleaves of the versatile Kentucky-bred
chestnut by King Cugat, who finished 10th last out here on Jan. 14 in
the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) behind Silver Medallion, although beaten
only 3 ¾ lengths for it all. “We haven’t made a final decision, but
we’re seriously thinking about it.”