Stable’s 3-year-old Eskendereya worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 Sunday
morning at Palm Meadows as he is kept on edge for next Saturday’s $750,000
Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, leading a team of a dozen stakes runners
on the work tab from trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of talent this winter.
A son of
Eskendereya romped home an 8 ½ lengths winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes
(G2) last out on Feb. 20 over the track and 1 1/8 miles distance of the Florida
Derby and will likely be a heavy favorite for the 59th edition of Gulfstream’s
historic Kentucky Derby (G1) preview.
the ‘bullet’ for five furlongs on the Palm Meadows tab Sunday morning was Ol’
Memorial Stables and C.E. Glasscock’s Soaring Empire, timed in 1:00 2/5 for
trainer Cam Gambolati, fastest of 43 at the distance as he tunes up for the
Florida Derby. The son of 2003 Florida Derby winner Empire Maker will likely be
a longshot as he makes his fourth career start and first around two turns.
Eddie Castro, aboard for the work, will ride the colt in the Florida Derby on
Saturday, March 20.
other probable/possible Florida Derby starters worked over the Gulfstream track
Sunday morning with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Pleasant Prince timed a ‘bullet’
five-eighths in 59 1/5 for trainer Wesley Ward. The son of Indy King finished
fourth last out in the Fountain of Youth, beaten 10 ¼ lengths by Eskendereya.
really excited going into the race (Fountain of Youth),” said Ward Friday
afternoon. “The horse was training great. I’ve always felt since we bought the
horse that he was going to be something special, and I think he’s starting to
emerge into what his potential is. Hopefully, he is one that is a late
developer and will come around quickly to get us the big one (Florida Derby).”
homebred First Dude worked five furlongs in 1:02 for trainer Dale Romans as he
prepares to make his stakes debut in the Florida Derby. The son of Stephen Got
Even finished second in two starts in Kentucky last year, broke his maiden
going a mile here on Jan. 30 in his 3-year-old debut and finished a game second
in a 1 1/8 miles allowance race last out on Feb. 21.
others on the ‘possible’ Florida Derby list working at Gulfstream Sunday
morning were Gainesway Stable’s Tempted to Tapit, five furlongs in 59 4/5 for
trainer Steve Klesaris; and Michael Imperio and Kona Stable’s filly Christine
Daae, six furlongs in 1:11 flat for trainer Patrick Biancone.
to Tapit finished second to Discreetly Mine in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at
Fair Grounds last out on Feb. 20 shipping in from Klesaris’ Gulfstream barn.
His connections are weighing whether to run the roan/gray Tapit gelding here
Saturday in the Florida Derby or return to New Orleans
for the Louisiana Derby (G2) a week later on Mar. 27.
plans to run Flying Zee Stable and Kona Stable’s Pulsion in the Florida Derby
after the son of Include finished sixth with trouble in the Fountain of Youth
and has also nominted Christine Daae to the Florida Derby as well as the
$200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) over the track and distance earlier on the
chestnut daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Christine Daae has won both of her
starts at the meet after a fourth-place career debut last summer at Hollywood
She broke her maiden by 8 ¾ lengths here going seven furlongs on Jan. 15 and
came back to score by 2 ¾ lengths going 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 28.
Presious Passion Drills for Dubai
Generazio’s charismatic 7-year-old gelding Presious Passion, who scored a
repeat victory in the Mac Diasrmida Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 28
for trainer Mary Hartmann, worked an easy mile in 1:44 at Gulfstream Sunday
morning as he gets ready for his trip to Dubai for a start in the $5 million
Sheema Classic (G1) to be run at 1 ½ miles on turf on the Dubai World Cup card,
Sat., Mar. 27.
Passion is among five South Florida-based stakes stars expected to board a
plane on Wednesday to contest the rich races on Dubai World Cup Day, including
two others that ran in stakes here earlier in the meet.
Marty Wygod’s 4-year-old homebred colt Courageous Cat was a game winner of the
Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) on Feb. 20 making his first start since a close-up
second-place finish behind champion filly Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile
(G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 for trainer Bill Mott. The son of Storm Cat will
run in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Partners’ 4-year-old Take the Points finished first in the Gulfstream Turf
Handicap (G1) on Feb. 6 for trainer Todd Pletcher, although disqualified to 5th
for interference in the stretch. The roan/gray son of Even the Score breezed
five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 Sunday morning at Palm Meadows and set to contest the
$10 million World Cup at 1 ¼ miles over the Tapeta synthetic surface at the new
Meydan Race Course.
World Cup invitee is Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 5-year-old gelding Furthest Land,
who worked six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 at Gulfstream Sunday morning for trainer
Mike Maker. Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov.
7, the son of Smart Strike finished a close-up fifth last out in the San
Antonio Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 7 behind World Cup contender
likely favorite for the World Cup is Castleton Lyons 5-year-old Gio Ponti,
double Eclipse winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) runner-up in 2009, who is
preparing for his trip at trainer Christophe Clement’s Payson
Classic, along with the supporting stakes races on the World Cup card, will be
simulcast live at Gulfstream
as part of a special Saturday morning program beginning at 9am.