Jockey Paco Lopez was on a roll Thursday afternoon at
Gulfstream Park winning four straight races from the second through fifth
events and none of the winners was favored, returning $9.40, $14.20, $11.00 and
$41.20 for $2, respectively.
A 24-year-old native of Mexico,
Lopez finished eighth in the Gulfstream standings last year and appears bound
for a much better finish this season as Thursday’s performance elevated him to
third in the standings with 42 victories, trailing only Javier Castellano on
top with 50 and John Velazquez second at 46.
Castellano is among the large contingent of jockeys based
at Gulfstream this winter that will be out of town this weekend and will make
limited appearances here during the rest of the meet that closes on Sat. Apr. 24.
Lopez is expected to ride out the session along with Elvis Trujillo, fourth in
the standings with 39 wins, before both move on to summer headquarters in the
mid-Atlantic at Monmouth
Castellano rides at Fair Grounds Friday and Saturday while
Velazquez made the trip to Dubai
for mounts on World Cup Day Saturday, but both will be back at Gulfstream at
least for Sunday’s card to ride leading contenders in the $150,000 Orchid
Stakes (G3) before shifting their tack to Kentucky
Bold Start & Arson Squad
Prominent on Skip Away Roster
Lawrence Carroll’s 6-year-old Bold Start and Jay Em Ess
Stable’s 7-year-old gelding Arson Squad both shipped out of Gulfstream Park to
finish one-two last out in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Mar. 6
and could meet again in next Saturday’s $125,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3).
The two veteran campaigners are among 20 older horses
nominated to the 1 3/16 miles test as is Circle E Racing and partners’
6-year-old Timber Reserve, who also made the trip to Tampa Bay from trainer
John Kimmel’s Palm Meadows base to finish third in the Challenger after winning
a Gulfstream allowance on Jan. 18 in his first start this year.
Arson Squad is a son of Brahms trained by Rick Dutrow and
has earned $932,000 with six wins from 25 career starts and was in Dubai at
this time last year finishing 11th behind Well Armed in the World Cup.
Arson Squad bounced back to finish a close-up fourth in the
Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) in June, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths for it all by
Macho Again, and didn’t run again until a good third-place effort in a one-mile
allowance e race here on Feb. 3 before the Challenger.
Bold Start has won nearly $600,000 and went wire-to-wire to
win the Challenger by 4 ¼ lengths in track record time for 1 1/16 miles.
Trained by Ken McPeek, the son of Jump Start was impressive winning a one-mile
allowance over the Gulfstream track on Feb. 21 in his previous start.