Robert LaPenta’s 3-year-old Ice Box breezed a half-mile in
49 flat Saturday morning at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito in his first
workout since his 20-to-1 upset victory in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Mar. 20.
Zito plans to train the stretch-running son of Pulpit up to
his next start in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 1.
Also prominent on the Saturday morning work tab at Palm
Meadows was Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite. He was timed for five furlongs in 1:02
for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The son of Yes It’s True finished third last out in the
$250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on Feb. 20
and is expected to run in next Saturday’s $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at
Double Triple for Lopez at
Jockey Paco Lopez rode three winners on Thursday at Gulfstream
to pass Javier Castellano atop the leader board in the rider standings for the
meet and added three more on Friday’s card to extend his margin to 55-50 with
John Velazquez third at 46 going into Saturday’s program.
Veterans Castellano and Velazquez ranked one-two in the
standings for most of the session, but have moved on since the Florida Derby
(G1) on Mar. 20, both in action on Friday’s opening day program at Keeneland.
Lopez, a 24-year-old native of Vera Cruz, Mexico,
was voted Eclipse champion apprentice in 2008 while based at Calder for most of
the season where he won meet title. Lopez will be a heavy favorite to win his
first Gulfstream championship as the session winds down to a close on Apr. 24.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is virtually assured of a seventh
consecutive Gulfstream meet title with 32 victories, nearly double his closest
rivals. Nick Zito and Bill Mott are tied for second with 17 apiece, followed by
Rick Dutrow in fourth with 15 and Marty Wolfson and Wesley Ward tied for fifth
at 13 apiece.
Gulfstream-Raced Team Sweeps First
Four places in Transylvania
Four 3-year-olds that made their last starts at Gulfstream
swept the first four places in Friday’s $100,000 Transylvania Stakes (G3) on
opening day at Keeneland, led by Amerland Stud’s Nordic Truce who was ridden to
victory by Julien Leparoux. He remains undefeated in three career starts for
trainer Christopher Clement.
The Kentucky homebred son of Yes It’s True won the $100,000
Dania Beach Stakes over the Gulfstream course last out on Jan. 16 and was
followed home in order in the Transylvania by Wesley Ward and partners’ Strike
the Tiger, Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward and Silverton Hill Farm’s King Ledley.
Another strong group of 3-year-olds that trained in South
Florida and ran at Gulfstream earlier this season is expected to contest next
Saturday’s $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, including two for
trainer Todd Pletcher – Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite and Wertheimer et Frere’s
Aikenite makes his first start since finishing third to
Pletcher-trained stablemate Eskendereya in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth
Stakes (G2) here on Feb. 20. Interactif finished second in the Hallandale Beach
Stakes on turf at Gulfstream on Feb. 7 and came back to finish second in the
San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on Mar. 13.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Pleasant Prince is now listed
probable for the Blue Grass after finishing a game second by a nose behind Ice
Box in the Florida Derby (G1) for trainer Wesley Ward on Mar. 20 after the son
of Indy King finished fourth in the Fountain of Youth.
Donegal Racing Stable’s Paddy O’Prado goes into the Blue
Grass after making his last two starts on turf at Gulfstream for trainer Dale
Romans. The son of El Prado finished third in an allowance race on Feb. 10 and
won the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) on Mar. 6 by 2 ½ lengths.
Finally, Padua Stable’s Odysseus broke his maiden at
Gulfstream on Jan. 14 in his second start for trainer Tom Albertrani and made
his way onto the Kentucky Derby trail with a 15-length allowance victory at
Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 17 and a hard-fought nose victory in the Tampa Bay
Derby (G3) on Mar. 13.
Five of the eight 3-year-old fillies entered in today’s
$400,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland made their last starts at Gulfstream
– Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild (Wayne Catalano), Jack Swain III’s Apple
Charlotte (Graham Motion), Alex Campbell, Jr.’s It’s Tea Time (Rusty Arnold), Stone
Farm and partners’ Upperline (Mike Stidham) and Phipps Stable’s Protesting