Stuart S. Janney III’s Kentucky homebred Data Link
appears to be the
class of nine older horses drawn for Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf
Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old will be making his first
start since shipping to California where he posted a 2 ¼ lengths victory
in the Citation Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23.
Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano gets the call on Data
Link for trainer Shug McGaughey in the one-mile turf test after posting a
solid series of workouts at Payson Park in preparation for his season
A son of War Front, Data Link finished third in this race last year
and won the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland in his next start. After
a fifth-place effort in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on
Kentucky Derby Day he won the Monmouth Stakes (G2) in June before
another good effort when finishing second in the Bernard Baruch Handicap
(G2) at Saratoga.
“He’s a good horse,” said McGaughey who sent out Phipps Stables’
Point of Entry to defeat Animal Kingdom in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap
(G1) on Feb. 9. “He (Data Link) hurt himself down here as a 3-year-old,
so he was set back. When he was ridden right last year, he always ran
Two other top contenders in the Canadian Turf are Joseph Witek’s
5-year-old gelding Joes Blazing Aaron with John Velazquez aboard for
trainer Eddie Kenneally and Live Oak Plantation’s 5-year-old gelding Za
Approval and Joe Bravo named to ride for trainer Christophe Clement.
Joes Blazing Aaron won the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) over the
Gulfstream course early in 2011 as a 3-year-old when trained by Allen
Hunter, Jr. He went on to run several times for trainers Mike Maker and
Steve Asmussen before being sent to Kenneally last fall and won an
allowance race at Belmont Park in October. In two races at this meet he
finished a close-up fourth in an allowance on Dec. 8 and lost a nose
decision to Za Approval on Jan. 5.
Za Approval is a roan/gray son of Ghostzapper out of Win Approval,
by With Approval making his stakes race debut in only the 11th race of
his career. He is a half-brother to Live Oak homebred stars Revved Up,
whose career was guided by Clement, and to 2006 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)
hero and Eclipse champion Miesque’s Approval, trained by Marty Wolfson.
Two others that will attract support are Belle Meadows Farm and Lael
Stable’s 6-year-old Beau Choix with Luis Saez aboard on a return call
for trainer Barclay Tagg and Team Valor International’s 4-year-old Howe
Great and Joel Rosario with the mount for trainer Graham Motion.
Beau Choix rallied from off the pace to win a one-mile allowance
over the course by a half-length on Feb. 1. The Kentucky homebred son of
Elusive Quality won the Rob N Gin overnight stakes at Belmont Park in
October and ran a decent race to rally from 13th to seventh behind
Nikki’s Sandcastle in the El Prado Stakes over the course here when
beaten only3 ¾ lengths for it all.
Howe Great makes his first start since a seventh-place finish in the
Jamaica Handicap (G1) at Belmont on Oct. 6 after a very good runner-up
effort in the Del Mar Derby (G2) on Sept 2 when beaten a half-length. A
son of Hat Trick, Howe Great won the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park in
July after another good runner-up effort in the Hill Prince Stakes (G3)
at Belmont in mid-June.
Completing the field for the Canadian Turf are Larry Fugate’s Cash
Rules, Elvis Trujillo; Luis Duco Stable’s Empire Builder, J.L. Castanon;
Loooch Racing Stable’s Global Power, Paco Lopez; JEOG Stable’s Scatman,
Edgar Prado; and Camelia Casby’s Night Party, Shane Sellers.
Our Sugar Bear Stable’s Gourmet Dinner was entered to run ‘main
track only’ by trainer Bruce Brown with jockey Sebastian Madrid named to