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Maiden Tries Palm Beach

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Veteran horseman Dale Romans will not often be found running a maiden in a Graded stakes with a six-figure purse, but will do just that Saturday when he sends out Donegal Racing’s 3-year-old Paddy O’Prado in the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

“He is very talented. I never expected him to be a maiden this long,” said Romans Thursday morning. “He’s had several troubled trips. I like the distance of the stakes race, the maiden race that day (Saturday) is a mile-and-a-sixteenth and he likes longer and the stakes is a mile-and-an-eighth.”

A roan/gray colt by El Prado purchased for $105,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales, Paddy O’Prado drew post one in the field of nine. The colt will be ridden by jockey Jesus Castanon as he makes his fifth career start and second this year after a third-place finish in a maiden special test over the Gulfstream course on Feb. 10, his first start since early September at Saratoga.

Romans’ optimism about Paddy O’Prado can be attributed in part to the promise he showed in two turf starts at Saratoga last summer and the company he kept in those races. After a dull try sprinting on a ‘sloppy’ track at Churchill Downs in his career debut on July 4, he lost a neck decision to Dean’s Kitten in a maiden special test at the Spa on Aug. 5 and finished an even third in the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) on Sept. 4. 

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Dean’s Kitten will be among Paddy O’Prado’s rivals in the Palm Beach, but he finished fourth when they met previously in the With Anticipation. Dean’s Kitten would go on to win the Vision Stakes at Belmont Park and finish sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) at Santa Anita in early November when beaten less than three lengths for it all.

The With Anticipation was won by Wertheimer et Frere’s Interactif, who would likely have been the favorite in the Palm Beach had he be entered. After the With Anticipation, Interactif went on to finish a game third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, beaten less than a length for it all, and lost a photo decision last out in the Hallandale Beach Stakes here on Feb. 7 as the favorite to Bim Bam, the favorite in the Palm Beach.


South Florida Stakes Runners ‘On the Road’ This Weekend

A number of stakes runners based in South Florida who got their early season training here will be in action at tracks coast-to-coast this weekend. Another is making the second start of a promising career in Dubai Friday evening after an auspicious debut at Gulfstream Park on opening day, Jan. 3.

Three-year-old Tahitian Warrior was very impressive winning his six-furlong career debut at Gulfstream by 4 ¾ lengths for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Danny Miller in 1:09 4/5 and was sold privately not long after to the Maktoum family’s Godolphin enterprise. He was later shipped to Dubai.

The roan/gray gelding by Maria’s Mon is entered to make his second start Friday in a $150,000 allowance race going one mile on turf at the new Meydan Race Course in Dubai for Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor with Frankie Dettori named to ride in a race that could earn him a chance in the $2 million UAE Derby (G2) on Dubai World Cup Day, Mar. 27.

Headed in the opposite direction to run this weekend are P.A.R.J. Stable’s 6-year-old gelding Delightful Kiss to Santa Anita to run in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and Ogden Phipps’s 4-year-old Gone Astray to Arkansas for the $150,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Delightful Kiss is a roan/gray son of Kissin Kris trained by Pete Anderson who finished third last out behind Quality Road in the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream on Feb. 6. Delightful Kiss ran a close-up fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita in the fall of 2008. Jockey Juan Leyva will also make the trip for the mount Saturday.

Gulfstream-based jockey Eddie Castro travels for the mount on Gone Astray for trainer Shug McGaughey as the homebred son of Dixie Union makes his first start since finishing third as the favorite in the Discovery Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on Nov. 21. Gone Astray trained for his return at Payson Park and scored his biggest victory in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Philadelphia Park in early September.

Shipping north to Aqueduct to run Saturday in the $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (G3) is Homewrecker Stable and Avalon Farm’s 4-year-old Custom for Carlos, the likely favorite after winning the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream for trainer Eddie Kenneally on Jan. 9.

Another Gulfstream winner from early in the meet in action Saturday at Aqueduct is Starlight Partners’ 3-year-old Three Day Rush in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Starlight’s 2002 Florida Derby (G1) winner Harlan’s Holiday won a six-furlong allowance at Gulfstream on Jan. 9. In one start since then he finished a close-up third in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 6.


Palm Beach 2009 Rematch in Saturday Allowance

The 24th edition of the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf highlights Saturday’s card at Gulfstream Park, and by coincidence the one-two finishers from last year’s 23rd running have been entered to make their first start of 2010 in the eighth race allowance in the race before the Palm Beach.

G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.’s El Crespo won the Palm Beach under jockey Javier Castellano for trainer Rusty Arnold by a length over Dogwood Stable’s Lime Rickey, trained by Frank Alexander. A son of A.P. Indy, El Crespo failed to win in seven Graded stakes starts since then, but placed in three of them.



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