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
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.