will be the heavy favorite and horse to beat in the
$100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park on New Year's Day. Jockey Joel Rosario will ride for trainer Bob Hess,
Jr. The Florida-bred son of With Distinction won his first two starts at
Del Mar and Santa Anita and went into the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 as the 1-to-2 favorite. He led
every step but the last, losing a nose decision to longshot Hightail.
“He ran a great race. I think he got to loafing a little bit out there
on the lead,” said Hess from California Friday afternoon. “We think
we’ve learned a few things about him since then and he’s probably best
with a target to run at. I’ll be there tomorrow and we’ll school him in
the paddock Sunday.”
is among the most experienced and accomplished in the
Spectacular Bid line-up with jockey Paco Lopez re-united with the colt
for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. A homebred son of Put It Back, Brave Dave
won his career debut at Calder on June 30 and shipped to Monmouth Park
with Plesa’s summer division.
Brave Dave made his second start in the Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga
on July 22, finishing fourth behind Bern Identity after prompting the
pace and then drifting out to the middle of the track in the stretch.
“All I can say about that race is that he seemed to lose focus,” said
Plesa. “It wasn’t really a bad race.”
From the Sanford, Brave Dave won three straight in the Sapling Stakes
(G3) at Monmouth in on Sept. 2 and the Birdonthewire on Sept. 29 and
Jack Price Juvenile on Nov. 10 back at Calder. In one start since, Brave
Dave finished second by a length as the 1-to-2 favorite in the
six-furlong Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 1.
“I have a lot of respect for Jane Cibelli’s horse (Purple Egg) that
beat us, but there were some things that worked against us that day.
First, he (Brave Dave) had to ship up there and then we had a little bug
in our barn at the time and when we scoped him he had a little mucous.
He’s 110 percent now."
has run only once but will get solid support with
jockey Javier Castellano to ride in his first start for trainer Darrin
Miller. The son of Distorted Humor made a flashy debut winning first out
at Belmont Park on Oct. 28 by 2 ¼ lengths over for owner Kuehne Racing
and trainer Michael Mareina, and was sold privately not long after.
Mareina actually brought the colt to Gulfstream in November for the new
owners and looked after him here before sending him to Miller at Payson
Park. “I haven’t had him that long, just since Dec. 2,” said Miller
this week. “I like what I’ve seen so far. We think this is the next
logical move to see where we are with him.
Completing the field for the Spectacular Bid are Natalie Hinson and
Rowan Dixon’s Rockyshomerun, Gary Bain; Hurricane Stable’s Cat Five
Hurricane, Kent Desormeaux; and Cloud Nine Lumoni’s City of Weston, Luis