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Breeders' Cup 2017

Sal The Barber Returns on Sunday

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Lewis Schaffel’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Sal the Barber won the Calder Derby (G3) in mid-October before a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Hollywood Derby (G1) in late November in his last start of 2009, and is set to return for another campaign in Sunday’s ‘three other than’ optional/allowance going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.

Jockey Julien Leparoux rides Sal the Barber for trainer Christophe Clement in a field of seven as he makes his first appearance since chasing The Usual Q.T. home in the Hollywood Derby on Nov. 29, beaten seven lengths by the winner. A son of Alphabet Soup, Sal the Barber finished a game second in the Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by emerging star Courageous Cat before the Calder victory.

Sal the Barber’s chief rivals on Sunday would appear to be Darley Stable’s Japanese-bred 4-year-old Florentino with Alan Garcia to ride for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Lazy F Ranch and William S. Farish’s 4-year-old Pinckney Hill with Rajiv Maragh aboard for trainer Angel Penna, Jr.

Florentino finished a game third as the 8-to-5 favorite last out under similar conditions over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 27 in his first start since finishing eighth in the Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15. The son of Swept Overboard won two of three starts with a second over the course here last year  and went on to capture the Jefferson Cup (G2) at Churchill in the spring before tailing off form.

Pinckney Hill looked good winning a ‘two other than’ allowance over the course on Jan. 16 in his first start since a close-up fourth-place effort over the Belmont Park course on Oct. 11. The homebred son of A.P. Indy won his first two starts at Gulfstream and Belmont last year and finished second to Sal the Barber in the Don Jack overnight stakes at Belmont on July 1 in his third career outing.

Completing the field for Sunday’s feature are Alghuwayriyah Stable’s Eldaafer, Jeremy Rose; Caesar Kimmel and partners’ Premium Gold, Edgar Prado; Butterfly Stable’s Memorial Maniac, C.H. Marquez, Jr.; and Never Better Stable’s Lemon Cream Pie, Eibar Coa.

Leparoux, Prado & Bravo in New York Saturday

Gulfstream Park-based jockeys Julien Leparoux, Edgar Prado and Joe Bravo make a day-trip to New York Saturday for mounts on 3-year-olds in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct and return Sunday to ride at Gulfstream.

Leparoux will be aboard Vinery Stables and Mrs. Susan Roy’s Awesome Act in the Gotham for English trainer Jeremy Noseda as the chestnut son of Awesome Again makes his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 when beaten only 1 ¼ lengths for it all Vale of York.

Leparoux, currently third in the Gulfstream standings behind Javier Castellano and John Velazquez, will also ride Avalon Farms and Homewrecker Stables 4-year-old Custom for Carlos earlier on the card as the favorite in the $100,000 Toboggan Stakes (G3) for trainer Eddie Kenneally. They teamed up to win the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) last out at Gulfstream on Jan. 9.

Prado rides Steel Your Face Stables’ Yawanna Twist in the Gotham for trainer Rick Dutrow as the New York homebred makes his third start and Bravo gets the call on George and Lori Hall’s Nacho Friend for trainer Kelly Breen as he makes his first start since finishing a close-up fourth in the Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on July 30. The son of Friends Lake trained for his return at Palm Meadows.


Noble’s Promise & She Be Wild Drill at Gulfstream


 Chasing Dreams Racing 2008 LL’s 3-year-old colt Noble’s Promise worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park for trainer Ken McPeek as he gets closer to his highly-anticipated season debut expected to come in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Sat., Mar. 13

The son of Cuvee ranked among the nation’s leading 2-year-olds last year finishing a close-up third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 behind Vale of York and Lookin at Lucky and completing his campaign finishing second to Lookin at Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park on Dec. 19, beaten less than a length for it all in both races. Lookin at Lucky was voted Eclipse champion.

Noble’s Promise worked in company with Peter Callahan’s 3-year-old filly Beautician, who was timed two-fifth slower for the five-eighths in 1:00 3/5 for McPeek as she prepares for her first start since finishing a disappointing seventh-place in the Hollywood Starlet (G1) behind Blind Luck the day after the CashCall.

Beautician is a roan/gray daughter of Dehere who finished a strong second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita, beaten three-quarters of a length by She Be Wild, later named Eclipse champion. Beautician is a little behind Noble’s Promise in her training, and McPeek has not identified a specific target as yet.

Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild also was on the Friday morning work tab at Gulfstream as she went five-eighths in 1:01 1/5 for trainer Wayne Catalano. The daughter of Offlee Wild has run once this year since the Breeders’ Cup, finishing fifth in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (G2) here on Jan. 31, a distance short of her preferred trip, with the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on Apr. 30 as the main goal.

Notable on Friday morning’s work tab at Palm Meadows was Donver Stable’s 4-year-old filly Careless Jewel timed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for trainer Josie Carroll as she prepares for her first start since a disappointing last of eight as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) behind Life Is Sweet at Santa Anita on Nov. 6.

The roan/gray daughter of Tapit earned her favorite’s role with a string of five straight victories last year before the Breeders’ Cup, winning the Delaware Oaks (G2) and Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga by more than seven lengths each and the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park by 3 ½ lengths.

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