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Zipse At The Track

Back at Gulfstream Park, Audible set to soar again

Back at Gulfstream Park, Audible set to soar again
Photo: Coglianese Photos

After it was decided to put Audible on the shelf, not long after his strong rally in the Kentucky Derby just missed second place, the $9 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 26 became the goal. And for good reason. Run at nine furlongs over the Gulfstream Park main track, America's richest race  comes at a venue where the 3-year-old son of Into Mischief first made his name hear.

You'll remember Audible took Gulfstream by storm early this year with a pair of definitive wins against fellow
Kentucky Derby hopefuls. A 5 1/2-length romp in the Grade 2 Holy Bull marked a coming out party. Audible was both fast and visually impressive. Proving that was no fluke, the Todd Pletcher trainee came back to dominate the proceedings against a solid field in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. He had shown promise before these two races near Miami, in winning two of three in his home state of New York, but they were nothing like he presented the fans at Gulfstream Park in his first two races as a 3-year-old.

On Saturday, Audible will return to the site of his biggest victories and look to keep his Gulfstream record in tact in the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday. While it would add another graded stakes win to his growing list of credentials, this one is strictly a prep for the big one, as his date in the Pegasus awaits. The Harlan's Holiday is actually part of a three-race plan concocted by his connections. The first step in the plan took place last month under the Twin Spires.

In a performance which thrilled his trainer, Audible
made his long-anticipated return to the races on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs. In his first start in six months, the Grade 1 hero powered by a field of modest stakes horses to win the Cherokee Run Stakes going away.

It was not an easy spot, running at seven furlongs against seasoned sprinters in his first start since the Kentucky Derby, but it was handled by the classy Audible with aplomb. It was a return that not only points him out as a horse primed and ready to pick up right where he left off, but also one which highlights his versatility.

Owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, Audible has been working at Palm Beach Downs in South Florida since the victory at Churchill Downs, and has turned in three solid works in preparation for step two. Back at Gulfstream Park, look for the winner of 5-of-7 lifetime to be an overwhelming favorite against a field which will look nothing like the one he will find six weeks later in the Pegasus. 

Led by the soon to be champion, and Breeders' Cup Classic hero,
Accelerate, the Pegasus will be a showplace for most of America's best dirt horses as the calendar turns to a new year. It will represent a second chance for Audible to prove himself against the very best. Of course, his first opportunity came on the first Saturday in May. Although he did not bring home the roses that afternoon in Louisville, he gave it a great run.

The Pegasus will be by no means easy for Audible, but if he can complete step two on Saturday as impressively as he did step one, he looms one of the top choices in the $9 million affair. 

Following in the grand tradition of former New York-bred stars like Funny Cide, Fio Rito, Win, Fourstardave, and Dayatthespa, Audible is part of a new group of Empire Staters to do big things on the track. Diversify has won important Grade 1 races on back-to-back years; Mind Your Biscuits became an international star and the richest New York-bred of all time; Voodoo Song became a grade 1 winner over the Saratoga turf which he loves so much; and Fourstarcrook proved herself to be among our very best turf females.

Back at Gulfstream Park, a track which he clearly loves, Audible has a chance to move to the head of this impressive class. 

One down, two to go. The Cherokee Run went smoothly. The Harlan's Holiday is step two, and is likely to be no problem. Then will come the big one.

Can he beat the likes of Accelerate, City of Light, and Gunnevera? Saturday's performance should be just the prep Audible needs to be in with a big chance.

 

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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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