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Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows Buzzing with Activity

Ancient Rome, the winner of the Spectacular Bid Stakes last out, is set to make his 2012 debut in the inaugural running of the Gulfstream Park Derby. Trainer Anthony Dutrow stated, “There are so many opportunities for 3-year-olds throughout the year. That’s why we’re stretching him out sooner rather than later. If it doesn’t work out, we’re not going to argue. We’ll just campaign him as a sprinter.” Ancient Rome (Roman Ruler—Wish It Were, by Is It True) is 2 for 3 as a two-year old. After finishing second to Mark Valeski in his debut race, the bay colt captured a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight race at Delaware Park before nosing out For Oby in his stakes debut. Ancient Rome is currently stabled at Palm Meadows Training Center and breezed four furlongs in 48.24 on December 26.


Animal Kingdom, this year’s Kentucky Derby hero, is back in training. On Christmas Eve morning, the Leroidesanimaux colt worked with Grade 1 winning stablemate Toby’s Corner at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland. He went 3 furlongs in 38 flat. Trainer Graham Motion’s goal for the chestnut colt is the $10-million Dubai World Cup with a prep race beforehand. Motion said, “It’s all up to the colt and how quickly he gets himself into shape. He is a big horse and he grew during his layoff. Ideally, I’d like to be able to run him in a race like the Gulfstream Park Handicap on February 11, but if he fails to make that race, we always have the option of sending him over to Dubai early and giving him a race there.” As for when Animal Kingdom will be transferred to Palm Meadows, Motion stated, “The weather has been holding up well and he likes it here. I wouldn’t mind breezing him here a few more times, as long as the dirt and Tapeta stay as good as they are right now.” Saturday’s work was the first for the colt after having surgery to stabilize a non-displaced hairline fracture of a hind leg sustained in a chain-reaction bumping incident at the start of the Belmont Stakes.


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Fountain of Youth winner Soldat also returned to the worktab on Christmas Eve morning. Hansen breezed a half mile in 53 flat while Soldat zipped through 3 furlongs in 36 flat. Soldat won an allowance race by 10 ¾ lengths and the Fountain of Youth Stakes by 2 lengths earlier in the year, but followed up those performances with a 5th in the Florida Derby as the favorite and an 11th in the Kentucky Derby. The War Front colt has not raced since the Kentucky Derby.


Palm Meadows has been a flurry of activity as of late. Big names that have put in recent works include:


December 24, 2011
• It’s Tricky—3 furlongs on dirt—39.04
• Mission Impazible—3 furlongs on dirt—39.34
• Pants on Fire—3 furlongs on dirt—36.44—5/38
• Adios Charlie—4 furlongs on dirt—49.45
• Awesome Maria—4 furlongs on dirt—49.96
• Discreet Dancer—4 furlongs on dirt—48.88
• Alpha—5 furlongs on dirt—1:01.03
• Awesome Feather—5 furlongs on dirt—1:00.66—4/56


December 26, 2011
• Dayatthespa—4 furlongs on turf—50.60—3/13


December 27, 2011
• Cool Blue Red Hot—5 furlongs on dirt—1:01.36—5/21


Gulfstream Park has also been a hotbed of activity. Big names stabled there that have put in recent works include:


December 24, 2011
• Mucho Macho Man—4 furlongs on dirt—46.50—1/95
• Twinspired—5 furlongs on dirt—1:00.40


December 27, 2011
• Vector—3 furlongs on dirt—36.80—2/9


New Year’s weekend features three stakes races: the G3 Mr. Prospector Stakes, the Gulfstream Park Derby Stakes, and the G3 Old Hat Stakes. Sixteen three-year olds and upward have been nominated to the 6 furlong Mr. Prospector Stakes, including Apriority and Sangaree. The race is limited to fourteen entries with preference given to graded stakes winners. The one and one sixteenth mile Gulfstream Park Derby Stakes drew 30 nominations, including Alpha, Dullahan, O’Prado Again, Souper Speedy, and Stephanoatsee, a half-brother to Shackleford. The field is limited to 14 starters and restricted to three-year olds. The 6 furlong Old Hat Stakes drew 18 nominations with Awesome Belle headlining the field. It is also limited to 14 starters and is restricted to 3-year old fillies.



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Older Comments about Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows Buzzing with Activity...

I am inclined to agree with you, Brian. AR gets some distance ability through his sire line, but his dam was a sprinter. He certainly looks like he will prefer the shorter distance.
Interested to see what Ancient Rome can do in the stretch out, I think Alpha will be the more serious Derby possibility.

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Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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