Prospect Watch: 4 to follow at Turfway and Gulfstream

Prospect Watch: 4 to follow at Turfway and Gulfstream
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

As we cross into the second half of March, a couple of maiden special weights at Turfway Park and Gulfstream Park are well worth our attention.

A handful of well-bred first-time starters are entered, so we’ll give them the spotlight in this week’s edition of Prospect Watch.


Turfway Park Race 8: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 9:46 p.m. EDT)

No. 7 Highly Flammable

Age: 3

Pedigree: Munnings–Inflamed, by Unusual Heat

Purchase price: $220,000

Trainer: Mark Casse

We don’t normally turn to Turfway Park in search of high-profile first-time starters, but we can’t possibly overlook Highly Flammable, an exciting Mark Casse trainee purchased for $220,000 as a juvenile. The son of Munnings was produced by Inflamed, previously the dam of Grade 1 winner and six-time Grade 2 winner Mo Forza.

Highly Flammable has been burning up the Turfway Tapeta track in the mornings, clocking a bullet half-mile from the starting gate in 47.2 seconds on Jan. 8 and another half-mile from the gate in 47.4 seconds on Feb. 26. Jockey Kazushi Kimura (a 29 percent winner teaming up with Casse) is named to ride, so Highly Flammable looks like one to watch on debut.


Gulfstream Park Race 9: Maiden special weight (one mile, 4:38 p.m.)

No. 2 Dual Threat

Age: 3

Pedigree: Into Mischief–Knight of Thunder, by Thunder Gulch

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Bill Mott

A son of three-time leading sire Into Mischief (who sires 16 percent winners from first-time starters), Dual Threat was produced by Knight of Thunder, a daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch. Knight of Thunder already has achieved success as a broodmare, foaling Barbara Shinpoch winner Cakewalk and Best Pal (G2) third-place finisher Fleetwood.

This promising pedigree points to Dual Threat as a horse worth following, both on Saturday and down the road. Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Dual Threat has shown speed in the mornings (most notably breezing a bullet five furlongs from the Payson Park starting gate in 1:01.8 seconds) and can’t be dismissed from consideration.

No. 4 Gasoline

Age: 3

Pedigree: Curlin–Yellow Agate, by Gemologist

Purchase price: N/A

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Remember Yellow Agate? The early-maturing filly was a top-class 2-year-old, winning her debut at Belmont Park before adding the Frizette (G1) to her resume. Now Yellow Agate is a broodmare, and Gasoline is slated to be her first starter.

A son of two-time Horse of the Year and elite sire Curlin, Gasoline is conditioned by hot trainer Todd Pletcher, an impressive 20 percent winner with horses debuting over one mile or farther. The chestnut colt has fired off a couple of bullet half-mile workouts at Palm Beach Downs and even breezed a swift five furlongs in 1:00.8 on March 5, so Gasoline is a logical contender for victory on Saturday.

No. 5 Bright Future

Age: 3

Pedigree: Curlin–Sophia’s Song, by Bellamy Road

Purchase price: $350,000

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

If anyone can beat Gasoline in this deep maiden heat, it’s probably his Pletcher-trained stablemate Bright Future. Sold for $350,000 as a yearling, Bright Future has been turning in sharp workouts at Palm Beach Downs, including five furlongs in a swift 1:00.4 seconds last Saturday.

Bright Future is nominated to the Triple Crown and will be ridden in his debut by Irad Ortiz Jr., a 29 percent winner teaming up with Pletcher in the last two months. All signs suggest Bright Future has, well, a bright future.

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