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Breeders Cup 2015

Hal's Hope is El Padrino's Donn Prep

El Padrino (no. 7), ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Todd Pletcher, holds off Mark Valeski and wins the 39th running of the grade 2 Risen Star Stakes for three year olds on February 25, 2012 at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)
El Padrino, who returned from an eight-month layoff to finish second in an open allowance race at Gulfstream on Dec. 19, is being pointed to the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) on Jan. 13. The one-turn mile will serve as a prep for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream on Feb. 9.

“I thought he ran really well. He’s a big horse that carries a lot of weight. I felt like if we were on a program to make the Donn, he’d need two starts to get enough conditioning to hopefully have his ‘A’ Game for that race,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’ll hope that the Hal’s Hope is an improved race and that it sets him up for the big one.”

El Padrino won an allowance and finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream last season.

Graydar was also nominated for the Hal’s Hope after capturing an entry-level allowance by nearly five lengths at Gulfstream on Dec. 6. Pletcher has opted to look for another allowance for the lightly raced son of Unbridled’s Song.

“We’ll point for something in early February for him,” Pletcher said. “We thought about the Hal’s Hope, but he’s a very talented horse that lacks race experience and seasoning. I want to get a two-race into him.”

Pletcher expects to run Dominus in the $150,000 Fort Lauderdale, a 1 1/16-mile turf race that has been upgraded to Grade 2 status this year. The 4-year-old son of Smart Strike captured his turf debut at Saratoga with a front-running score in the Bernard Baruch (G2) on Sept. 1.  He set the pace before fading to sixth in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 6 before returning to dirt and finishing fifth in the Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill on Nov. 2.

“We thought his first race on turf in the Bernard Baruch was very good. He didn’t seem to handle the Keeneland turf course to well in the Shadwell Mile there,” Pletcher said. “We tried him back on the dirt in the Ack Ack at Churchill and he kind of flattened out. So we feel his preferred surface is the turf for the moment. Hopefully, we don’t get any rain, because he seems to like a firm turf course.”

Doubles Partner, who was also nominated for the Fort Lauderdale, but will start next in the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 19. Doubles Partner has won two of three starts over the Gulfstream turf.



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Older Comments about Hal's Hope is El Padrino's Donn Prep...

El Padrino will skip the Hal's Hope and train up to the Donn Handicap.
anyone know why he wasnt entered in the hals hope sunday? thought that was to be his donn prep

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