Last year's Grade 1 Champagne winner Havana makes his much
anticipated 2014 debut on Sunday at Belmont Park in the $100,000 Gold
Fever overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. The son of
Dunkirk also finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile for
trainer Todd Pletcher.
wise it worked out," said Pletcher's assistant, Byron Hughes. "His
progression into this year fit into this weekend. He was in Florida most
of the winter, then came up to [New York] and he's been doing
everything great so far. I've seen a steady progression in his breezes -
they've been getting better and better. He loves to train."
Havana will take on the Bob Baffert-trained The Admiral on Sunday, who finished fourth in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack last out, as well as
Pure Sensation, who finished third behind Extrasexyhippzster and Oliver Zip in the Don Rickles.
and The Admiral will be coupled in the wagering as they are both owned
by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
Pletcher will send out another stakes runner on Sunday as Mike Repole's Micromanage
will take on a field of seven in the Drosselmeyer overnight stakes for
older horses at 1 ¼ miles. The son of Medaglia d'Oro turned in a
career-best performance in the 1 3/16-mile, Grade 3 Skip Away at
Gulfstream Park, his first start equipped with blinkers.
put blinkers on him in the [Skip Away], and I think that was the
biggest difference for him," said Hughes. "He seemed to really benefit
from them; he was a lot more focused. He shipped up here [after the Skip
Away] and has been training great up here, as well. If he puts in the
same effort he did last time, he can absolutely compete with some of the
top older horses."