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Wide Open Ft Lauderdale

Quantum Racing Team #1 LLC’s 5-year-old gelding Mambo Meister finished a troubled sixth in the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park to begin a very productive 2009 campaign. He hopes to kick-off an equally successful 2010 campaign when he starts in Sunday’s renewal of the 1 1/16 miles turf test as one of the likely favorites.

Jockey Manoel Cruz gets a return call on Mambo Meister for trainer Phil Gleaves in a full field of 14 as he makes his first start since a game fifth-place effort in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita where he was beaten two lengths. The Kentucky-bred son of King Cugat had trouble in the race, however, as he steadied between horses in the stretch. Earlier in the season he won overnight stakes on both dirt and turf at Calder and ran a big race to finish second in the Fourstardave Handicap (G2) at Saratoga in early August.

Last year in the Fort Lauderdale, Mambo Meister was beaten only a length to Hardacre Farm’s Kiss the Kid, who posted a mild upset at 11-to-1 after a wild finish. Kiss the Kid is back to defend his title Sunday with jockey Eddie Castro named to ride for owner-trainer Amy Tarrant.

Kiss the Kid showed that good effort was no fluke as he finished a close-up fourth behind Kip Deville in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in his next start and won the Appleton Handicap (G3) over the course in late March before shipping north. The 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid placed in several graded stakes later in the season on turf and dirt, including a good runner-up effort in the Meadowlands Cup (G2).

Another veteran turf stakes performer in with a chance is Jerry Crawford and partners’ Yate’s Black Cat with Kent Desormeaux for trainer Dale Romans. The 7-year-old son of Black Minnaloushe is a confirmed stretch-runner who would benefit from a fast pace as he makes his first start since finishing third beaten a neck to Cloudy’s Knight at Keeneland on Oct. 22.

Completing the highly-competitive field are Farnsworth Farms’ Jet Propulsion, Earle Mack’s Star Plus, Carol Nyren’s Dry Martini, Shadwell Stable’s Danak, Phipps Stable’s Vacation, Nelson Clemmens Lessee’s Sam P., Charles Fipke’s Society’s Chairman, Eldon Farm’s Wheels Up At Noon, James Scatuorchio and John Iracane’s Bittel Road, Alex Lieblong and partners’ Duke of Mischief and Bruce Lunsford’s Valtrus. Javier Negrete’s Wingedlie is the lone ‘also-eligible’ entrant.

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