Having saddled Fort Larned for an extraordinary triumph in the $5
million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita last November, Ian
Wilkes was certainly prepared for the inevitability that his stable star
would be asked to give weight to his rivals in Saturday’s $300,000
Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
The 5-year-old son of E Dubai has been assigned to carry high weight
of 124 pounds in the mile handicap, between six and 11 pounds more than
the horses that have been confirmed to be pointing to the one-turn
“It’s fine,” said Wilkes Sunday morning. “I have no complaints.”
Fort Larned, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in a one-turn
mile race in 2011, registered his first graded-stakes victory in the
Skip Away (G3) last year at the Hallandale Beach track. He also captured
the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, as well as the Cornhusker (G3) at Prairie
Meadows in 2012.
Fort Larned is scheduled to breeze five-furlongs on Monday for his
final serious prep for the Gulfstream Park Handicap, in which he is
slated to carry six pounds more than Fort Loudon, the winner of the
Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G3) on Feb. 9.
“He’s a big, strong horse,” Wilkes said. “So I’m fine with it.”