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Promising Maidens Clash at Gulfstream Park

Todd Pletcher 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Thursday’s card will start off strongly when a well-bred group of maiden colts goes postward in a seven-furlong contest. Nine juveniles were entered for the first race, including a pair of first-time starters from the Todd Pletcher barn. They are Coach Inge, a son of Big Brown owned by Repole Stable that cost $150,000 earlier this year; and Whisper Hill Farm’s Hollywood Idol, a $650,000 yearling by Smart Strike out of millionaire Hollywood Story.
 
“He’s very well-bred,” Pletcher said of Hollywood Idol. “I think he will probably benefit from longer distances down the road, but this is a good starting point.”
 
The juveniles breezed in company last Saturday at Palm Meadows, where they went a half-mile from the gate and were timed in 48 seconds flat.
 
“[Coach Inge] has been a little more forward and precocious,” Pletcher added. 
 
Coach Inge will break from post three and will be ridden by Javier Castellano. Hollywood Idol has the services of Joel Rosario and drew the eight hole.
 
Also in the field is Darley homebred Empower, who boasts a series of good works for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The chestnut colt is the second foal from the talented Magnificience, who was purchased as a broodmare prospect by for $1 million.
 
“He’s ready to run and he should run well, but we’re not great with first-time starters,” McLaughlin cautioned. “He’s a big, leggy long horse that wants to run all day, and I feel he’s going to take a race or two to figure it all out. Our barn thinks he’s going to win, but our second-time percentage is huge.
 
“He’s a two-turn horse for sure and we hope he’s a graded-stakes horse,” McLaughlin added. “He’s like a grown-up, really tall teenager that isn’t quite there yet. It’s a tough race. We do like him, but he’s not a speedball.”
 
The morning-line favorite at 5-2 is trainer Eddie Kenneally’s second-time starter H Town Brown, who completed the exacta under the lights at Churchill Downs in his November 16 career debut. Owned by Jake Ballis, the $145,000 yearling purchase is a half-brother to the accomplished sprinter D’Funnybone. He will break from the rail under Julien Leparoux.
 

 

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