Race of the Week 2017

Grande Shores finally back in action

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred 3-year-old colt Grande Shores was in the same crop as their star filly Awesome Feather when he finished a game second to Gourmet Dinner in the Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder in August of 2010 while still a maiden.

As Awesome Feather went on to complete an undefeated Eclipse Award season -  winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs - Grande Shores ran only one more time after the Dr. Fager, breaking his maiden by 6 ¾ lengths on Dec. 27 before being sent to the sidelines.

A half-brother to Jacks or Betters’ 2009 2-year-old star Jackson Bend, Grande Shores returns to competition almost exactly a year later on Thursday at Gulfstream Park in an ‘a other than’ allowance test at 6 ½ furlongs. Jockey Luis Saez is named to ride in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up.

“He got very sick with a viral infection after he broke his maiden,” said trainer Stanley Gold Monday morning. “He lost a lot of weight and we sent him to the farm. He’s come back and trained great. I’ve done all I want to with him in the morning. Now it’s time see where he is in the heat of a race. He could be a little rusty.” 

A son of Black Mambo, Grande Shores ran six times as a 2-year-old finishing second four times and losing his jockey in the Frank Gomez Memorial in July won by Little Drama two races before the Dr. Fager.

Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has been red-hot in the first month of the Gulfstream season and has a pair of 3-year-old contenders that could end up the one-two choices Thursday in James Scatourchio’s Ice Cream Man with John Velazquez aboard and leading rider Javier Castellano named on E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Simba’s Story.

A $150,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Elusive Quality, Ice Cream Man won his only career start over the Gulfstream track on Apr. 3 over as the 19-to-10 start with Velazquez in the saddle.

Simba’s Story is a Kentucky homebred and is also by top sire Elusive Quality and has run well in all five of his career starts, most recently finishing fourth in a Belmont Park allowance on Apr. 30 when beaten only three-quarters of a length for it all by Redeemed. Simba’s Story showed a win, two seconds and a third in as many starts before that last winter at Aqueduct.

Completing the field for Thursday’s feature are Nicholas Becce’s Zuber, Juan Leyva; For Petes Sake Stable’s Trouble in Dodge, Joe Bravo; Wind River Stable’s Depeche Cat, Manoel Cruz; Patricia Generazio’s Raging Six, Elvis Trujillo; and Paul Saylor’s Old Guys Rule, Julien Leparoux.

Awesome Belle Possible for Old Hat or Sweetest Chant

Jacks or Better Farm’s 2-year-old homebred filly Awesome Belle had a wide trip when finishing 12th behind My Miss Aurelia in the $2 million Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies (G1) last out at Churchill Downs.

Awesome Belle and 2-year-old colt stablemate Fort Loudon, seventh behind Hansen in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 5, each spent the next three weeks on Jacks or Better owner Fred Brei’s farm before returning to Gold’s barn at Calder.

“She (Awesome Belle) worked a bullet five-eighths last week (1:01 2/5 on Dec. 20) and she’s ready to run,” said Gold Monday morning. “She’s nominated for the ($100,000) Old Hat (G3), but I haven’t decided to go in there or wait and run her longer on grass in the ($100,000) Sweetest Chant (Jan. 22). I’ve got a few days to decide, but she’s doing great.”

Like Awesome Feather, Awesome Belle is a homebred daughter of Awesome of Course and earned a chance in the Breeders’ Cup after winning the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder on Oct. 15 by 7 ½ lengths.


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