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Breeders' Cup 2017

Armstrong Mill Tops Friday Feature

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Overbrook Farm’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Armstrong Mill showed promise hitting the board in all five starts last year, including a close-up third-place finish in the Saranac Stakes (G3) on turf at Saratoga, and is set to make his 2010 debut in Friday’s ‘a other than’ allowance feature scheduled for 1 3/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.

Jockey Rajiv Maragh gets the call on the son of Dynaformer in his first appearance since finishing second as the favorite in a nine-furlong ‘off the turf’ allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 31. Armstrong Mill won his career debut on turf at Belmont Park on May 23 and was beaten only 1 ½ lengths by the winner in the Saranac at the Spa in his third start in early September.

Another lightly-raced 4-year-old contender in the field of eight drawn for Friday’s race is Lael Stables’ Cozy Lion with Javier Castellano for trainer Barclay Tagg. The Tale of the Cat gelding was a $310,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase and rallied to finish a good fourth going one-mile over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 31 in his first start since breaking his maiden on turf at Belmont in mid-May.

Completing the field are My Meadowview Farm’s Nowhere to Hide, Rafael Fernandez’ Primero, J. Paul Reddam and Willmott Stables’ Chapin Beach, Earle Mack’s Schopenhauer, S J Stable’s Rainbows Arch and Chiefswood Stable’s Favorite Soup.


Gulfstream Park Handicap Highlights Four Stakes Weekend

William S. Farish and partners’ Grasshopper, A. Steven Miles, Jr.’s Warrior’s Reward and Overbrook Farm’s Battle Plan are prominent among more than 30 older horses nominated to the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) to be run on Sat., Mar. 13 at Gulfstream Park, one of four stakes events scheduled that weekend.

In addition to the 66th edition of the historic Gulfstream Park Handicap to be run at one mile, the Saturday card will also include the $75,000 Ocala Stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares, followed Sunday by renewals of the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares at seven furlongs and the $75,000 Sunshine State Stakes for Florida-bred older horses at seven furlongs.

Grasshopper is best-known for finishing second by a half-length in the 2007 Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga behind Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense for trainer Neil Howard. The 6-year-old homebred son of Dixie Union has had mixed success since, but looked good winning a one-mile allowance race over the track here on Feb. 3 in his first start since April and first for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Warrior’s Reward won the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) here last winter for trainer Ian Wilkes and also was impressive winning his 2010 season debut here in a seven-furlong allowance on Feb. 11. The son of Medaglia d’Oro finished third in the Dwyer Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park and second in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga in other good tries.

Battle Plan is an intriguing prospect as the regally-bred 5-year-old by Empire Maker out of recently-deceased champion filly Flanders has made only four career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, winning the last three at Gulfstream by big margins. Battle Plan scored by five lengths going 1 1/8 miles here on Feb. 18 in his first start in more than a year.

Other accomplished stakes performers on the Gulfstream Park roster include Jay Em Ess Stable’s Arson Squad, P.A.R.J. Stable’s Delightful Kiss, Michael Tabor and partners’ Munnings, Paul Pompa, Jr. and partners’ This One for Phil and Estate of Edmund Gann’s pair of Motovato and You and I Forever.

Leading nominees for the Inside Information include Edward P. Evans’ Casanova Move, runner-up in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) and Bonnie Miss (G2) here last year; Zayat Stable’s Kays and Jays, winner of the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G2) over the track on Feb. 13 after shipping from California; and Marc Keller’s emerging star Qualia, winner of two allowance races at the meet.


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