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Force Freeze on target for GP Sprint Championship

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Saeed Naser al Romalthi’s 7-year-old gelding Force Freeze, last seen finishing a game second to Amazombie in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, is on target to launch his 2012 season in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G2) on Sat., Feb. 18.

 

Force Freeze and Luis Olivares 5-year-old gelding Tackleberry, winner of the Sprint Championship last year, lead the nominations for the seven-furlong test with the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares to be run at 6 ½ furlongs to highlight the Sun., Feb. 19 card.

 

Force Freeze was beaten only a neck by Amazombie in the Breeders’ Cup, the latter going on to be voted Eclipse champion sprinter. A Kentucky-bred by Forest Camp, Force Freeze raced in Dubai for a couple of seasons and until being sent to Walder at Monmouth Park last summer, winning the Teddy Drone Stakes there in late July and finishing second in the Vosburgh (G1) at Belmont Park on Oct. 1 before the Breeders’ Cup.

 

Tackleberry has been training steadily for his 2012 debut and first start since finishing ninth in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont on May 30. The son of Montbrook won the Sunshine Millions Classic in late January last year before the Sprint Championship victory in February and captured the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) in his next start in March.

 

Also prominent among nominees for this year’s renewal of the Sprint Championship are Donald Dizney’s Apriority, winner of the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) earlier in the meet for trainer David Fawkes; Irving Cowan’s regally-bred Bold Warrior, a son of Bernardini out of Hollywood Wildcat trained by Allen Jerkens; and Peachtree Stable’s Troilus, winner of two allowance races at the meet for trainer Marty Wolfson.

 

Pinnacle Racing Stable and trainer Bill Kaplan’s 5-year-old mare Musical Romance was voted 2011 Eclipse champion filly or mare sprinter after her upset victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on and is the most accomplished of the nominee for the Hurricane Bertie.

 

However, the daughter of Concorde’s Tune got her 2012 season off to a rough start finishing fourth in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint with plenty of trouble in the race on Jan. 28. Kaplan indicated the daughter of Concorde’s Tune came out of the race none the worse for wear.

 

Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has four fillies and mares nominated to select from for the Hurricane Bertie between Gainesway Farm’s 5-year-old Afleet Lass, Blue Heaven Farm’s 4-year-old Maple Forest and E. Paul Robsham Stable’s pair of 5-year-old Awesome Maria and 4-year-old R Holiday Mood.

 

Another accomplished prospect is Stronach Stable’s 4-year-old Her Smile, who finished third behind Musical Romance in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs when owned by Bobby Flay and trained by Pletcher. The daughter of Include was purchased by Stronach Stable days after for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sales and is being pointed for the Hurricane Bertie by new trainer Chad Brown.

 

 

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