In addition to the $200,000 Swale
Stakes (G2) and $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3), Saturday's program at
Gulfstream Park also spotlighted a pair of races for 3-year-old colts
whose winners have bright futures.
Anchor Down, bet down to 2-5 following an impressive debut at
Gulfstream on January 25, confirmed his early promise with a popular
victory in the fourth race, a $48,750 allowance contested at seven
furlongs. Three races later, Peter Island made an eye-catching move to
secure his career opener going 6 1/2 panels in a $39,000 maiden special
weight. Both colts are gray sons of Tapit.
Favored versus five rivals, Anchor Down pressed the quick pace and was
hand-ridden by jockey Javier Castellano through the stretch. He hit the
wire 1 1/2 lengths in front of the game Myositis Dan, and stopped the
clock in 1:21.67 for the seven-furlong test.
"He broke really cleanly and put himself in a good position," trainer
Todd Pletcher said. "I thought he ran very well. We'll continue to
stretch him out, in a stakes probably, but I'm not sure which one yet."
A half-brother to Test Stakes (G1) heroine Sweet Lulu, Anchor Down was
purchased as a yearling for $250,000 by Alto Racing. He broke awkwardly
in his January 25 career opener at Gulfstream, but settled the matter
quickly with a four-wide move and went on to score by two lengths.
Peter Island, bred and raced by Robert S. Evans, had worked with highly
regarded stablemate Top Billing two weeks ago and was the third choice
in the wagering in the seventh race. The leggy colt didn't flash much
speed in the early stages, but began to gather momentum quickly under
jockey Joel Rosario. He ranged up five wide entering the stretch and put
away Moon Song en route to a 1 1/4-length success.
"I thought he would run well--whether he would win or not, I didn't
know," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "He's a big, tall colt and he broke
fine, but he didn't really know about running away from there. When I
saw him coming up the rail, I thought, 'Well, at least he'll get a good
education.' But then when they got to the middle of the turn, I felt he
could win if they backed up a little bit.
Evans purchased the Pleasant Colony mare Resort for $260,000 in 2010
when she was carrying Peter Island in utero. Twice placed in Grade 1
events, Resort had previously produced Grade 2 winner Sightseeing.
"I was pleased," McGaughey added. "We'll stretch him out after this."