, 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
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.