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Gulfstream Park: Santiva stays on turf

Santiva, who returned from a six-month layoff recently with a sharp second-place finish on turf, had been nominated for both the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) on the main track and the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale (G3) on turf, both scheduled for Saturday Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Brendan Walsh, though, opted to keep the 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway on turf for at least one more start, having determined that the 1 1/16 miles of the Fort Lauderdale suits him better than the one-turn mile distance of the Hal’s Hope.

“We’re going to go to the Fort Lauderdale, mostly because we want to keep him around two turns,” Walsh said. “I don’t think the one-turn mile would suit him, but we haven’t thrown him off the dirt, by no means. He’s probably got a lot of potential to improve. He’s still lightly raced.”

Santiva, who had previously raced on grass once before stepping onto the 2011 Triple Crown trail, made his return to action and turf at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17. He raced wide throughout the mile allowance after breaking from the far-outside post position, gaining the lead in mid-stretch before succumbing by a neck to even-money favorite Unbridled Ocean.

The long-range goal for Santiva is either the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) or the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), both scheduled for Feb. 11.

“He ran very well the first time on grass. We’ll give him another go on the grass and then hopefully after that we’ll run him in the Donn or the Gulfstream Park Turf,” Walsh said. “We were delighted with him the last time. He’s going to improve a lot off his first run, I think. He was coming off a six-month layoff. I think he’s going to improve a lot.”

After finishing second in a maiden race at Saratoga in August 2010, Santiva finished second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and broke his maiden in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs to complete his 2-year-old season.  He finished second behind Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in his 3-year-old debut before finishing off the board in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1).

Prior to his recent Gulfstream Park start, Walsh took over Santiva’s training from Eddie Kenneally, for whom he had worked several years as an assistant.

“You’d like to think Santiva would be a Donn horse or the other race on turf. Two runs on the turf would be a good preparation for the Donn, as well as the (Gulfstream Park) Turf,” Walsh said.

 

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