Slews Answer Returns in Sunshine Millions Turf

Slews Answer Returns in Sunshine Millions Turf
Photo: MEC

Live Oak Plantation’s 6-year-old gelding Slews Answer, a game second behind Eclipse Award finalist Little Mike in the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Turf last year for trainer Graham Motion, returns from seven-month layoff as one of the favorites in Saturday’s renewal of the 1 1/8 miles test with Alan Garcia aboard in a field of eight.

The Turf will be one of six stakes races for Florida-breds worth a total of $1.3 million on Saturday's program, highlighted by the $400,000 Classic featuring Mucho Macho Man, Ron the Greek and Fort Loudon.

A son of Ghostzapper, Slews Answer didn’t make his career debut until he was a 4-year-old here in early 2011, winning first out on turf and finishing second in an allowance race before scoring in the Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs in his third start.

Following the Sunshine Millions last year he made only two more starts, finishing third defending his Turf Classic victory at Tampa Bay and a sixth-place finish last out in the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs on June 16.

Robert Leibner’s highly-consistent 6-year-old gelding Bad Debt ran a good third in the Turf a year ago and gets another try with jockey Kevin Caramouche flying to ride for trainer Michael Trombetta.

“He had a little trouble at the start in the race last year, but nobody was going to beat Little Mike that day,” said trainer Trombetta. “He’s been a very reliable horse and fun to have over the past few years.” A son of Grand Reward, Bad Debt finished sixth last out  in a bulky field of 13 behind Nikki’s Sandcastle in the one-mile El Prado Stakes here on Dec. 22, although beaten only 3 ½ lengths for it all.

The El Prado broke a streak of 19 consecutive races in which Bad Debt had finished one-two-three going back to November of 2010. Trombetta claimed Bad Debt for his Washington D.C. owner at Monmouth Park on June 18 for $35,000. His two biggest victories have both come in the $125,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup at Calder in 2011 defeating Picou and again last November by a neck over Speak Easy Gal.

The solid favorite in the Turf will likely be WinStar Farm’s 6-year-old Doubles Partner with jockey Javier Castellano to ride for trainer Todd Pletcher as he makes his first start since a good third-place effort in the Citation Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park on Nov. 23.

A son of Rock Hard Ten, Doubles Partner won the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream course in early March in his first start since a strong third behind Get Storm in the Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day the year before. Following the Canadian Turf he turned in another good effort when third in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland in April won by Data Link.

Completing the field are Shivmangal Racing Stable’s Shkspeare Shaliyah, John Eaton and Steve Laymon’s Picou, Resolute Group Stable’s Teaks North, Dennis Manning’s Roman Tiger and Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and partners’ Duke of Mischief.

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