Perretti Racing Stable LLC’s Forty Tales, who closed with a furious rush
to fall a half-length short of catching Honorable Dillon in the
$150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 2 as the
favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher, will get another chance over the
same seven-furlong distance in Saturday’s $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2).
Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano gets the call on Forty
Tales in the bulky field of 13 3-year-olds. A son of Tale of the Cat
purchased for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sales, Forty
Tales had won his two previous starts impressively, his debut at
Aqueduct on Nov. 24 by 2 ¾ lengths and an ‘a other than’ allowance at
Parx on Jan. 5 by 3 ¾ lengths.
An accomplished contender making his season debut in the Swale will
be Ronald Kirk, John Bates and partners’ Are You Kidding Me with jockey
Edgar Prado aboard for trainer Roger Attfield as he makes his first
start since a close-up fifth-place finish behind Joha in the Breeders’
Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 6.
“He had some poor racing luck in some of his races last year,
including the Breeders’ Futurity when he didn’t get a clean run,” said
Attfield from his Payson Park winter headquarters. “He missed a little
time as did some other horses that got sick up here, but he’s over that
and done very well training since then.
“It’s time for him to get started. He did run well in a couple of
sprints at Woodbine last year, but I think his future will probably be
going a distance. I think he’s a very promising prospect.” Are You
Kidding Me drew the far outside post 13.
A Kentucky homebred by Away and Hide, Are You Kidding Me broke his
maiden in an ‘off the turf’ race at Woodbine in late July in his third
start and won an a turf allowance in late August. He ran a very big race
to finish second by a half-length in the $250,000 Summer Stakes (G2) on
turf in September before his good but troubled trip in the Breeders’
Futurity when he was beaten 2 ½ lengths for it all.
Curtis Green’s Kentucky homebred Tulira Castle will bid to bounce
back from a very disappointing effort when eased in the $400,000 Holy
Bull Stakes (G3) on Jan. 26 behind Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby.
That race followed his very good 2 ½ lengths allowance victory going a
mile over the track on Dec. 8 for trainer Jim DiVito.
“He had a case of the ‘thumps’ from a reaction to Lasix,” said
Divito, referring to the condition resulting from an electrolyte
imbalance in a horse’s body caused by heat and/or dehydration. The
‘thumps’ affect heart rate and breathing.
“They don’t suffer any long term affects and there are things you
can do to prevent it from recurring. Basically, we’re turning back
(distance) and starting all over again with him.”
Bruce Chandler and partners’ Merit Man will likely get solid support
despite a somewhat disappointing performance last out when fourth in
the Hutcheson, although beaten only 2 ¾ lengths for it all. Jockey Kent
Desormeaux gets aboard the son of With Distinction for the first time.
Merit Man had been nearly perfect in four previous starts for trainer
Bob Hess, Jr.
An $75,000 OBS April 2-year-old sales purchase, Merit Man made his
first three starts in California last year. Following a winning debut at
Del Mar in early September, he won the $100,000 Tim Conway Stakes at
Santa Anita by 5 ½ lengths in early October and lost a nose decision in
the final steps as the favorite in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
In one start before the Hutcheson at Gulfstream this winter, Merit
Man won the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at six furlongs on New
An intriguing prospect in the Swale is Up Hill Stable’s Clearly Now
with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle for trainer Brian Lynch. The
Kentucky-bred by Horse Greeley finished a distant third last out in the
$400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 26 behind
Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby in his first start of the season.
Clearly Now made three starts last year in Canada at Woodbine,
winning a pair of sprints and finishing third in the $150,000 Display
Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 1 when beaten five lengths by Avie’s
Quality with My Name Is Michael second.
“I just don’t think he’s ready for two turns against the kind of
horses he would have to face down here this winter,” said Lynch “Maybe
he’ll stretch out when we get back to Toronto and matures a little later
this year. In the meantime, I think turning back to seven furlongs for
this race will be ideal for him.”
New England Patriot wide receiver Wes Welker’s gelding Undrafted ran
a huge race to finish third in the Hutcheson, beaten a half-length for
it all for trainer Wesley Ward and comes back in the Swale with jockey
Julio Garcia in the saddle breaking from the rail. The son of Purim won a
one-mile turf allowance early in the meet and finished third in the
one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day before the Hutcheson.
Completing the field for the Swale are Silverton Hill LLC’s Little
Distorted, Joe Bravo; Juan Cintron, Jr.’s Dighton, Manoel Cruz; Bermuda
Limestone Stable’s Gombey Dancer, Corey Lanerie; James Hood’s Nevada,
Paco Lopez; Taylor Rice’s Triple Cross, Mario Pino; Herman Van Den
Broeck’s Singanothersong, Jozbin Santana; and Someday Farm’s Red
Judicata, Joe Rocco, Jr.