It has become apparent in recent weeks as the Kentucky
Derby (G1) and Triple Crown season unfolds that a remarkable number of leading
3-year-old prospects raced at Gulfstream
Park this year, a fact
re-affirmed Saturday with the fields assembled for Saturday’s $200,000 Derby
Trial Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs and $150,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at
The heavy favorite for the Withers will be Paul Pompa,
Jr.’s D’Funnybone, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) on Feb. 20 and Swale
Stakes (G2) on Florida Derby Day, Mar. 20, at Gulfstream in his last two starts
for trainer Rick Dutrow with his rivals to include Anstu Stable’s Ibboyee,
third in the Hutcheson and second in the Swale for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Seven of the 10 runners entered in the one-mile Derby Trial
at Churchill Downs ran at Gulfstream, including C R K Stable’s Privilaged, who
shipped in from California
to finish third behind D’Funnybone in the Swale for trainer John Sadler in his
The others in the Derby Trial that ran at Gulfstream are
Ol’ Memorial Stables and C.E. Glasscock’s Soaring Empire, Ken and Sarah
Ramsey’s Pleasant Prince, Robert LaPenta’s Miner’s Reserve, Jacks or Better
Farm’s Hear Ye Hear Ye, Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite and Lannie Family Trust’s
Game On Dude.
With only a few pieces of the puzzle to fall in place over
the weekend, it appears quite likely that as many as 10 or half the field of 20
expected to line-up for the 136th Kentucky Derby on Sat., May 1 will have raced
at Gulfstream earlier this season
Final All Turf Pick 4 Carded for
An innovation that proved very popular with Gulfstream Park
fans this season was the introduction of the All Turf Pick 4 wager in the last
four races each Sunday and Saturday’s closing day Sunshine State Bonanza
program will offer one more chance to close out the season with the final four
races carded for turf.
Saturday’s All Turf Pick 4 will include the first editions
of the $100,000 Island Whirl Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes and $100,000
Capital Request Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes, companion events for
Florida-breds at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the latter restricted to fillies and mares.
Lopez Appears Set to Collect First
Gulfstream Riding Title
Trainer Todd Pletcher sealed a seventh consecutive
Gulfstream Park meet championship some time ago and was in the winners’ circle
last Saturday to be recognized as he sent out 34 winners at the session,
leading closest rival Bill Mott by 15 in second with 19 victories and three
days to go.
Jockey Paco Lopez appears set to capture his first
Gulfstream title as the 24-year-old native of Mexico goes into the final three
days with a lead of 11 over closest rival Elvis Trujillo at 64-54, followed by
Javier Castellano third at 50 and John Velazquez fourth at 46, the latter two
having moved on after Florida Derby weekend last month.