Wallyanna Claims Favorite’s Role for Showing Up

HorseRacingNation.com
October 16, 2014 08:51am
Wallyanna wins 2014 Hall of Fame.
Photo: chelsea durand, NYRA

Michael Pino has built a strong reputation as a trainer with an exceptional knack for making successful claims – a reputation that has been only bolstered by the graded-stakes success of Wallyanna this year.

 

Claimed for $35,000 at Gulfstream Park in his second lifetime start and 2014 debut last March, Wallyanna has gone on to win three races, including two stakes, in five starts for Pino and owner Tim O’Donohue.

 

‘It was obviously a gamble. He didn’t really run a bad race first time out, and he had a good turf pedigree. We go there every year to try to claim some horses,” Pino said. “He’s a good-looking horse, so I took a shot. He’s a really impressive-looking horse. It turned out good.”

 

The son of Langfuhr and the Tale of the Cat-sired Magibel is scheduled to make his South Florida return as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s $90,000 Showing Up Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

 

In his only other South Florida start, Wallyanna overwhelmed a field of maiden $35,000 claimers over the Gulfstream turf course by 2 ½ lengths on the day he was claimed by Pino. The Kentucky-bred colt went directly to Keeneland to win a starter allowance by two lengths for his new connections and came right back to capture the $100,000 James Murphy at Pimlico on the Preakness Day card. After a fourth-place finish in the $200,000 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Grand, Wallyanna pulled off a 23-1 upset triumph in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.

 

“Sometimes you take a shot, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I can’t say I was surprised,” said Pino, who has registered more than 1500 winners since saddling his first horse in 1983. “What we thought he was, he actually lived up to it. We felt he had some kind of a shot.”

 

He didn’t fare nearly as well in the Saranac (G3) over a ‘good’ turf course at Saratoga with a wide-trip sixth-place finish on Sept. 1.

 

“His last race was a little disappointing. He was running up there a little close and the turf was soft,” Pino said. “We probably ran him a little quicker than we probably should.”

 

Looking to keep Wallyanna in the company of 3-year-olds, Pino opted to ship him from his Delaware Park base to Gulfstream Park West last week. He prepped for the Showing Up, a mile turf event for sophomores, with a ‘bullet’ half-mile workout.

 

Pino, whose stable will be based at Gulfstream Park West during the winter, named his brother, Mario, to ride Wallyanna in the Showing Up, which attracted a field of 11.

 

Mario Pino has ridden 6,624 winners since beginning his career in 1977. He ranks 10th all-time in wins, one spot behind Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, the only other active ride in the Top 10.

 

“Mario’s a very smart rider, a great turf rider,” Michael Pino said. “He’s very steady. He’s been doing it for so long, and he ‘s a good guy.”

 

Best Plan Yet is among the more highly regarded challengers in the Showing Up. The Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred colt captured the $90,000 Forty Niner Stakes over the Gulfstream turf on Aug. 23 despite encountering traffic. A multiple-stakes winner on dirt, the son of Hear No Evil won his first turf race in three tries in the Forty Niner. Despite Best Plan Yet going winless in two previous races on grass, trainer Stanley Gold expected the Florida-bred colt to eventually take to the surface, pointing to his pedigree.

 

“I think he’s a better horse on the grass than the dirt.  He always had a real high action. I thought his action would level off on the grass. At first it didn’t, but it did last time,” Gold said. “We always talked about the day we’d see him just reaching out and not climbing, and last time was the day.”

 

Out of Bayou Plans, Best Plan Yet is a half-brother to Midas Eyes, a Grade 1 winner who was trained by Bobby Frankel and earned in excess of $600,000; Awesome Belle, a winner of multiple stakes on dirt and turf and nearly $530,000; Bayou’s Lassie, a multiple graded-stakes winner and earner of more than $700,000; and Al Zir, who sold for $1.6 million as a yearling and was Group 1-stakes placed in England. While Midas Eyes’ success came solely on dirt, Best Plan Yet’s three other high-profile siblings excelled on grass.

 

“His sister Awesome Belle got better as she got older. She won the big Stallion Stakes race, but she wasn’t at her best until she was 3,” said Gold, who has awarded the return mount to Jesus Rios. “They’re a lot alike. They’re long and rangy, but they’re not real wide. They kind of seem to get better balanced and put some weight on and figure things out a little later than you might like. He’s good right now. He’s focused. I think he’ll run his race.”

 

Roman Approval stamped himself as a colt to watch with a first-level allowance victory at Belmont last time out in his turf debut and first start after being claimed by trainer Michael Maker for Three Diamonds Farm. The son of Roman Ruler was claimed out of a second-place finish in a $25,000 claiming race at Saratoga.

 

Roman Approval began his racing career in Puerto Rico, where he finished second behind Tonito M. in three straight races before being shipped to the U.S. Tonito M. was subsequently brought to the U.S. and won the recent Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

 

Carlo Vaccarezza-trained Little Daddy is set for a return to South Florida and turf after an off-the-board finish in a Saratoga stakes in August. In his only start on turf, the son of Scat Daddy finished second in the $75,000 English Channel at Gulfstream. Edgard Zayas is named to ride the New York-bred colt.

 

Trainer Steve DiMauro is scheduled to saddle Notyouraveragejoe for the Showing Up. The Son of Discreet Cat captured the $100,000 Juvenile Turf over Florida-bred rivals last November in his only race on turf. Eduardo Nunez is slated to ride Notyouraveragejoe, who has raced once this year, an off-the-board finish in the Quality Road Stakes over Gulfstream’s main track.

         

Bill White-trained Brilliantlee is the only Showing Up entrant to win on the Gulfstream Park West turf course. He is actually a two-time winner who hasn’t raced since a poor showing in the English Channel in June. Ramsey Zimmerman has the mount.

 

Breitling Flyer, The Imposter, Shiva Ryan and General Sham’mah round out the field for the Showing Up, the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card that also features the $90,000 Cellars Shiraz, a mile turf race for sophomore fillies.

 

Source: Gulfstream Park West

 

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