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Breeders' Cup 2017

Falling Sky Ready for GP Sprint

Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire

A strong second to Grade 2 winner Revolutionary in a one-mile allowance on Jan. 11, Falling Sky will make his next start in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) on Feb. 8.            

Trainer George Weaver had also nominated the 4-year-old Lion Heart colt to the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) on Feb. 9, which is run at 1 1/8 miles. The Sprint is contested at seven furlongs.            

“At this moment, we kind of want to focus on one-turn races and see how it goes,” Weaver said. “It depends on how he runs in this race. He’s kind of going to tell us, start by start. He’s never been on the turf, and it’s not impossible that we’ll stretch him out later, too. But right now, we’re kind of thinking one-turn dirt races.”            

Owned by Newtown Anner Stud and Joseph Bulger, Falling Sky was on the Triple Crown trail last spring, winning the Sam F. Davis (G3) and running third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1).            

Falling Sky got some time off after finishing last of 19 in the Kentucky Derby (G1), returning in the seven-furlong City of Laurel Stakes at Laurel Park on Nov. 9, where he lost all chance after stumbling badly at the start.            

Weaver brought Falling Sky back in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, where he led from the gate to deep stretch before being overtaken by Revolutionary, beaten just a half-length.            

Third in the Derby, Revolutionary is being pointed to the Donn by trainer Todd Pletcher, Weaver’s former boss.            

"We were delighted with the race. I felt he ran a huge race last time,” Weaver said. “There’s no shame to getting beat by Revolutionary. He’s a big, good-looking horse who was third in the Derby. You don’t put together the record that Revolutionary has without being a pretty serious horse, so I don’t feel like we got beat by just an ordinary horse. Hopefully, with another race under our belt and getting him a steady diet of racing, we’re going to have a good year in front of us.”                       

Twenty-nine horses were nominated to the GP Sprint, including Pletcher’s unbeaten Catron and graded stakes winners Bear Tough Tiger, Brujo de Olleros, Fort Loudon, Jackson Bend, Laugh Track and Singanothersong.            

“We were looking to run in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race last time and it didn’t go, so we ended up running a mile because we needed to run him,” Weaver said. “We’re cutting him back to seven-eighths and he’s going to be pretty salty. We know there will be some quality runners in there, but he’s doing really well so it’s just going to be up to him. We’re very happy to be in the race.”

 

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