Saeed Naser al Romalthi’s 7-year-old gelding Force Freeze, runner-up in
the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs last fall, will be the
likely favorite in Saturday’s $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint
Championship (G2) going seven furlongs in a field of eight older horses
that also includes Rosemary Rausch and David Zell’s 6-year-old gelding
Capt. Candyman Can.
Jockey Paco Lopez gets back aboard Force Freeze for trainer Peter
Walder as the Kentucky-bred by Forest Camp makes his first start since
finishing a game second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 5 when
beaten a neck by Amazombie, who was later voted Eclipse champion
Force Freeze raced in Dubai with mixed success in 2010 and early last
year before being sent to Walder at Monmouth Park. In two starts before
the Breeders’ Cup, Force Freeze won the Teddy Drone Stakes by four
lengths in late July and finished a game second by a half-length in the
Vosburgh Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.
“My only concern is the distance, particularly coming off the layoff”
said Walder. “Seven furlongs can be a tricky distance, but Paco (Lopez)
is very confident it won’t be a problem. He can run with any horse in
the country at six furlongs. I’m excited to have him back.”
Jockey Javier Castellano rides Capt. Candyman Can for trainer Ian
Wilkes as the veteran sprint stakes performer bids to move forward from a
very respectable fourth-place finish in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector
Stakes (G3) here on Dec. 31, beaten 1 ¾ lengths. The son of Candy Ride
was making his first start since a close-up third-place effort in the
Aristides Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 4.
Capt. Candyman Can has won five of six races at the distance, including
the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) here as a 3-year-old in late January of 2009.
He went on to win the Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct that March and
ran another big race in the Kings Bishop (G1) that summer at Saratoga,
finishing second by a head, but placed first on the disqualification of
Other contenders that will attract support are E. Paul Robsham Stable’s
4-year-old Simba’s Story with jockey John Velzquez aboard for trainer
Todd Pletcher and Peachtree Stable’s 4-year-old Troilus and Elvis
Trujillo on a return call for trainer Marty Wolfson.
Simba’s Story is a Kentucky homebred by Elusive Quality and makes his
stakes race debut while turning back in distance from a hard-fought
score going one mile in an allowance race over the track on Jan. 22. He
boasts a 7-2-2-2 record and was beaten less than a length for it all in
his lone out-of-the-money finish.
A son of Speightstown, Troilus also makes his first start in a stakes
after winning three straight, the last two going a mile in allowance
races at the meet on Dec. 8 and Jan.1. He has won all three of his
starts since joining the Wolfson barn after good second and third-place
efforts in tough maiden special events at Saratoga last summer for
trainer Steve Margolis.
An intriguing prospect in the Sprint Championship will be Irving
Cowan’s regally-bred 4-year-old Bold Warrior with jockey Jose Lezcano
aboard for Hall of Fame horseman Allen Jerkens. The Kentucky homebred
colt is by Bernardini out of Cowan’s 1993 Eclipse champion 3-year-old
filly Hollywood Wildcat
Bold Warrior has won three of six career starts with two seconds, most
recently second by a half-length in the Chief Tamanaco overnight stakes
going a mile at Belmont Park on Oct. 15. His first two victories came at
Belmont Park last spring and the only time he wasn’t one-two came when
trying two turns in the Curlin overnight stakes at Saratoga in late
July, finishing sixth..
Completing the field are Northpointe Thoroughbreds’ Amanecer de Oro,
J.L. Castanon; and Just For Fun Stable’s pair of Decisive Moment,
Sebastian Madrid; and Dixie Slam, Daniel Centeno.