Ete Indien Romps in 400k Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth

Favored Dennis’ Moment Fades to Last Curlin Florida Derby (G1) Prep

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Ete Indien gave trainer Patrick Biancone a second hot Triple Crown prospect Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the son of Summer Front captured the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) with an overpowering  8 ½-length triumph.

The Fountain of Youth, a key prep for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) March 28, wrapped up Gulfstream’s fantastic 14-race program that offered 10 stakes, including nine graded stakes, worth $1.95 million in purses.

Biancone, who saddled Sole Volante for an impressive winner in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa earlier in the February, sent out Ete Indien for a sensational front-running performance that virtually clinched a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 2.

Ete Indien, who finished a clear second to Tiz the Law after setting the pace in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Feb. 1, earned 50 qualifying points for the Derby Saturday while ridden for the first time by Florent Geroux, who was subbing for injured Luca Panici, and breaking from the far-outside No. 10 post position.

“We have been through a week of hiccups. First, we lose our jockey and second, we draw [outside] Good horses can overcome everything. I think he’s an exceptional horse,” Biancone said. “We look forward to the future.”

Dennis’ Moment, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Flavien Prat, was never a serious factor and finished last.

“He bobbled out of the gate but then after that he regrouped and I thought I was in a good spot. When I hit the five-eighths pole, he just dropped the bit and after that I was done,” Prat said. “After that, there was no reason to beat him up. He didn’t want to go.”

Ete Indien, the 3-1 second choice, was on ‘go’ from the start, sprinting to the lead before the first turn and taking immediate control that he would never relinquish. The Kentucky-bred colt set fractions of 23:14 and 46.72 seconds for the first half mile, chased by Gear Jockey and As Seen On Tv. The pacesetter began to draw away on the turn into the homestretch and continued to separate himself from his rivals through the stretch.

“As soon as I secured a spot, I just put the horse on cruise control and the horse was nice and easy and took a nice breather. When he got into a rhythm, he just felt very good,” said Geroux, who flew from New Orleans to gallop Ete Indien for the first time Wednesday at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “He wanted to get out at first when he saw the lights, but he’s very professional. I didn’t think he was that quick, to be honest. I didn’t think he had this kind of speed, which gives us way more options in the future.”

Candy Tycoon, ridden by Manuel Franco, finished second in a four-horse photo for second, a neck ahead of As Seen On Tv, who was another head in front of Shotski.

Chance It, who was rated second at 7-2 in the morning line, was scratched by trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. earlier in the afternoon due to concerns about the Mucho Macho Man winner’s far-outside post position.

Ete Indien, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.02, began his career on turf, winning a five-furlong sprint at first asking at Gulfstream in September. After finishing off the board following a troubled trip in the Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland, he won a mile optional claiming allowance on dirt by 2 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Dec. 20. He lost by three lengths to Tiz the Law in the Holy Bull but finished 11 ½ lengths clear of the third-place finisher in the Holy Bull.

Ete Indien, who is owned by Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable Inc., Horse France America, D P Racing Inc. and Patrick Biancone Racing LLC, is likely to return in the Florida Derby, a final stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

“I want to see how he comes back and how he works next time,” Biancone said. “He’ll need to improve to win the Florida Derby, but we are in Florida, he trains in Florida and we love Florida, so I think we’ll take a shot if he is in good form.”

Although he clinched a berth in the Derby starting gate, Ete Indien isn’t necessarily a cinch to run in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

“He will have one more run before the Derby and if he wins next time, we’ll go to the Derby. And if he doesn’t win next time, he will stay home,” Biancone said.

However, Biancone isn’t one to back away from a challenge.

“At one stage of my life I was playing poker and what you say? no gamble, no future?. You have to gamble a little bit to have a future and I think that horse was the perfect horse to do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sole Volante, who won the Pulpit Stakes on turf at Gulfstream in December before finishing third in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream and winning the Davis, is expected to make his bid to join the Kentucky Derby field in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) next Saturday.

Gulfstream Park Daily Results and Activity

Results

Saturday, February 29
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $50,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Hutcheson S. $100,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Palm Beach S. $150,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Honey Fox S. $150,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 The Very One S. $150,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $50,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Herecomesthebride S. $150,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Davona Dale S. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 11 Canadian Turf S. $150,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 12 Gulfstream Park Mile S. $300,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 13 Mac Diarmida S. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 14 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. $400,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Thursday, March 5 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $27,000
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000
Race 4 Claiming – $25,000 $27,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $39,000
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $52,000
Race 7 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $44,000
Race 9 Starter Optional Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 10 Claiming – $12,500 $25,000

Vitalogy Set to Launch Season in 150k Palm Beach

Among 10 Stakes, Nine Graded, Worth $1.95 Million Feb. 29


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Bottle Rocket Stable’s Vitalogy, scratched from a planned start in the Breeders’ Cup last fall, is set to make his eagerly awaited seasonal debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The 34th running of the 1 1/16-mile Palm Beach for 3-year-olds on grass is among 10 stakes, nine graded, worth $1.95 million on a blockbuster 14-race program highlighted by the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2). First-race post time is 11:30 a.m.

Silks simulcast center will open at 10 a.m. and Gulfstream will also offer wagering on three races from Saudi Arabia including the $20 million Saudi Cup, featuring 2019 Florida Derby (G1) winner Maximum Security.

Vitalogy drew outside Post 12 under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano in the Palm Beach, which kicks off Saturday’s graded-stakes action. Castellano was also named to ride in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G3) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita before the son of French Group 1 winner No Nay Never was withdrawn after being examined by regulatory veterinarians.

The Breeders’ Cup would have been the second start with trainer Brendan Walsh for Vitalogy following a runner-up finish in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G3). Breaking from the 14 post, Vitalogy trailed all horses for a half-mile before launching a furious comeback that came up a neck short.

“He ran great. It was literally an impossible draw and he ran really well. We were delighted with that,” Walsh said. “We brought him to the Breeders’ Cup, but they didn’t seem to think that he was sound enough to run for whatever reason. We brought him home, got him checked out, there was absolutely nothing wrong with him and here we are.”

Vitalogy broke his maiden at first asking last July in Ireland, then finished fourth by three lengths in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (G3) four weeks later in England. Less than a month later, he made his North American debut rallying to be third in the one-mile Summer (G1) over a yielding Woodbine turf course, beaten less than two lengths.

Unable to run in the Breeders’ Cup, the connections opted to give Vitalogy a break rather than look for another race and point for a 3-year-old campaign.

“We gave him a bit of time anyway because he needed it. He’d had a long year and we’re hoping that he’s going to turn into a really nice 3-year-old,” Walsh said. “He’s great. He’s done really well physically over the break and he’s been working well, so we’re looking forward to running him. Hopefully, we’ll have a good year with the horse.”

Vitalogy has been working steadily for his return since mid-January at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. Castellano was also up for the Bourbon at Keeneland.

“We’ve got plenty of work into him. Sometimes they are [fresh] but you never really know until you actually put them out there,” Walsh said. “He’s a grand horse. He’s very nice, pretty straightforward. He seems like he’s done well, so we’re pretty hopeful that he’ll run well on Saturday. We look forward to it.”

Toby Morton’s Famished returned to graded competition in the Palm Beach after finishing fifth, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the one-mile Dania Beach Feb. 1 at Gulfstream under two-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr., will race with blinkers for the first time.

Famished capped his juvenile season with fourth-place finishes in the one-mile Nashua (G3) on dirt Nov. 3 at Aqueduct and 1 1/16-mile Pilgrim (G3) Sept. 28 on the Belmont Park turf, the latter by 1 ¾ lengths. Manny Franco is named to ride from Post 10.

“I thought he had a pretty good run last time. Irad made the suggestion to try a set of cheater blinkers on him because he was always trying to niggle him to try and keep him in contact with the field,” trainer John Kimmel said. “He got beat a length for the whole thing and had a little bit of trouble, but he said maybe that would kind of keep him up on the bridle and make it a little easier where he wouldn’t have to overcome so much. He’s worked twice with the blinkers and worked lights out with them so we’ll see what he does on Saturday.”

Calumet Farm homebred Bee Catcher is making the jump to stakes company for his fifth career start off a one-length maiden special weight triumph Jan. 18 at Gulfstream for trainer Graham Motion. He shares turf champion English Channel as a sire with stablemate English Bee, a three-time stakes winner including the Virginia Derby (G3) that is entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3).

“I was really pleased with his run last time. This is going to be a big step up for him, obviously, but looking at the form there’s quite a few horses like him that just broke their maiden. The timing is good and I just thought it made sense to put him in there,” Motion said. “He and English Bee are very similar types. They’re both kind of not super impressive in the morning but hard-knocking, tough horses in the afternoon. They’re bred very similarly. They act very similarly. They’re almost a mirror of each other. If he can kind of raise to the level that English Bee did, that would be tremendous.”

South Bend, a stakes winner on dirt last fall who ran third by a neck in the Dania Beach in his turf debut; recent Gulfstream maiden winners Sassy But Smart, Fancy Liquor and Life On Top; and Tiesto, Street Ready, Algorilla, Turn of Events and Fenwick Station complete the field.

Gulfstream Park Daily Results and Activity

Results

Friday, February 28
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $39,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $33,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Special Weight $44,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Claiming – $20,000 $31,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $75,000 $51,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Wednesday, March 4 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 2 Allowance Optional Claiming – $25,000 $44,000
Race 3 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $44,000
Race 5 Maiden Special Weight $43,000
Race 6 Claiming – $40,000 $35,000
Race 7 Claiming – $6,250 $17,000
Race 8 Starter Optional Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 9 Starter Optional Claiming – $25,000 $40,000
Race 10 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000

Final Entries

Sunday, March 1
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000
Race 3 Starter Optional Claiming – $12,500 $23,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $35,000 $51,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 7 Allowance $51,000
Race 8 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000
Race 9 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 10 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000
Race 11 Starter Optional Claiming – $25,000 $33,000
Race 12 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000

Shivaree Seeks Return to Winner’s Circle in Saturday’s Hutcheson

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jacks or Better Farms’ Shivaree, a gusty runner-up in the Swale (G3) last time out, will seek to return to winning form in Saturday’s $100,000 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park.

Fred Brei’s homebred son of Awesome of Course will meet six rivals in the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds that will be accompanied on Saturday’s 14-race program by nine graded stakes, including the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2).

Prior to making a solid graded-stakes debut in the Swale, Shivaree had won three races in a row, including a pair of stakes.

Trained by Ralph Nicks, Shivaree won his first race in his fifth career start at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 11 after competing in the Florida Sire Stakes series against the likes of Fountain of Youth contenders Chance It and Liam’s Lucky Charm while still in the seven-furlong maiden ranks. He followed up his maiden-breaker against Florida breds with victories in the Buffalo Man and the Limehouse, both at six furlongs, at Gulfstream.

Shivaree was involved in a hotly contested pace during the seven-furlong Swale before settling for a distant second behind Mischevious Alex. He continued to fight in the stretch to hold second, a neck in front of Green Light Go.

“That was a tough field of horses. The winner looked like he might be a really good horse. It was a tough field and he battled to hold second,” Nicks said. “They had a lot of opportunities to catch him and he fought it out.”

Like his brother, multiple-stakes winner Garter and Tie, the Triple Crown-nominated Shivaree has done his best running in one-turn races, prompting his connections to run him in the Hutcheson, which was originally scheduled to be run last weekend, instead of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth.

“Fred and I talked about it, but the Hutcheson was there and we’re going through that route first,” Nicks said. “We’ll get through Saturday and we’ll cross the next bridge when he get to it.”

Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard Shivaree.

Stonehedge LLC’s Smash Factor returned to winning form in his most recent start at Gulfstream, entering the Hutcheson off a front-running victory in a seven furlong stakes-quality optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Feb. 5.

The Michael Yates-trained son of Khozan defeated Chance It in their respective debuts at Gulfstream June 1. He returned three-months later as a gelding to finish a distant second behind Chance It in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile final of the Florida Sire Stakes series. He went on to finish second behind Fountain of Youth entrant As Seen On Tv in the Juvenile Sprint for Florida breds at Gulfstream Park West. Smash Factor disappointed in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Jan. 4, fading to sixth behind a victorious Chance It after opening a clear early lead.

“I’m not sure why he ran that way in the Mucho Macho Man, but I was really happy to see him come back and win that last race,” Yates said.

Miguel Vazquez has the return mount on Smash Factor.

Peruvian Boy, a multiple stakes-placed son of Tapiture; King Snake, who finished third in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile last time out; Scarto, who captured the American Fabius starter starter stakes impressively; With Verve, a recent optional claiming allowance winner by 3 ½ lengths; and Ournationonparade, who captured the Maryland Million Nursery at Laurel Park; round out the field

Gulfstream Park Daily Results and Activity

Results

Thursday, February 27
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $39,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $25,000 $33,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $50,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Claiming – $25,000 $27,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Claiming – $50,000 $39,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Claiming – $25,000 $33,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Claiming – $12,500 $21,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Sunday, March 1 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000
Race 3 Starter Optional Claiming – $12,500 $23,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $35,000 $51,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 7 Allowance $51,000
Race 8 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000
Race 9 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 10 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000
Race 11 Starter Optional Claiming – $25,000 $33,000
Race 12 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000

Final Entries

Saturday, February 29
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 3 Hutcheson S. $100,000
Race 4 Palm Beach S. $150,000
Race 5 Honey Fox S. $150,000
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $52,000
Race 7 The Very One S. $150,000
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 9 Herecomesthebride S. $150,000
Race 10 Davona Dale S. $200,000
Race 11 Canadian Turf S. $150,000
Race 12 Gulfstream Park Mile S. $300,000
Race 13 Mac Diarmida S. $200,000
Race 14 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. $400,000

Mr Freeze Sharp for 300k Gulfstream Park Mile

Pegasus World Cup (G1) Runner-Up Likely Favorite


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Mr Freeze, runner-up to Mucho Gusto in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Runhappy Jan. 25, will try to stop his rivals in their tracks and roll to victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).

The Gulfstream Park Mile will be one of 10 stakes, nine graded, worth $1.95 million on Saturday’s Gulfstream program that will be highlighted by the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G1).

Mr Freeze won the Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs in September before finishing second in the Fayette (G2) at Keeneland and third in the Clark (G2) at Churchill, as well as his solid second in the Pegasus World Cup. Trainer Dale Romans said he thinks there’s more room for improvement.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten a perfect trip or the best out of him,” said Romans, who will also saddle Dennis’ Moment for a start in the Fountain of Youth.

The 5-year-old son of To Honor and Serve set the pace into the stretch in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup before being overtaken by Mucho Gusto, continuing on gamely to finish 4 ¾ lengths clear of third-place finisher War Story.

Although it would seem that Mr Freeze is getting better with age, the chestnut Kentucky-bred performed extremely well as a 3-year-old, winning his first two starts before finishing second in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows and scoring a six-length victory in the West Virginia Derby (G3) at Mountaineer Park. He then finished off the board in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Park and a lone turf try at Gulfstream.

“As a 3-year-old he was really going in the right direction, he ran so well in the West Virginia Derby. But he had a little issue in his throat. We did a little surgery and fixed it. It’s amazing that he’s come back good and has run so well,” Romans said.

Mr Freeze figures to be forwardly placed throughout the

“It may be his best distance. It’s a Catch 22. A horse little him I think is better if you go further if they’ll leave you alone on the lead and you can kick home the last part of it – make it a sprint for home,” Romans said. “But he’s shown he can go gate to wire at the distance.”

Manuel Franco has the call on Mr Freeze.

Romans is also represented in the Gulfstream Park Mile entries by Frank Jones and Churchill Downs Racing Club’s Rare Form, who finished third in the Jan. 25 Fred W. Hooper (G3) at Gulfstream.

“He had a good third going a mile last time, Romans said. “He’s a good horse; he keeps showing up.”

Flavien Prat has the call aboard Rare Form, a 5-year-old son of The Factor.

Shadwell Stable LLC’s Haikal, who was nosed out for the win in a Jan. 5 optional claiming allowance at Aqueduct in his first start in eight months, will be on a quest to regain the graded-stakes form he showed on the 2019 Road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the Gulfstream Park Mile.

“He ran very well last time just losing by a nose coming off a long layoff,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “We were very pleased with the effort, and he’s trained very well since.”

Haikal won the Jimmy Winkfield and the Gotham (G3) prior to finishing second in the Wood Memorial (G3) last year at Aqueduct. Unfortunately, the son of Daahar was scratched with a foot abscess the day before the Kentucky Derby.

“He’s matured. He looks great,” McLaughlin said. “Everything is good with him and we hope for the best.”

McLaughlin-trained True Timber, who finished far back in the Pegasus World Cup, will return in the Gulfstream Park Mile. Calumet Farm’s 6-year-old son of Mineshaft had finished third in the mile Kelso (G2), the seven-furlong Bold Ruler (G3) and Cigar Mile (G1) in his three races leading up to the Pegasus World Cup.

“Going back to a mile should help,” McLaughlin said. “He’s always tried hard.”

Phat Man and Zenden, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Fred W. Hooper, will both return in the Gulfstream Park Mile.

Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing LLC and Two Rivers Racing Stables LLC’s Phat Man, who had finished second behind War Story in the Dec. 14 Harlan’s Holiday (G3), closed from eighth to catch the pacesetting Zenden to win the mile Hooper by a length. Trained by Kent Sweezey, the 6-year-old son of Munnings will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

LLP Performance Horse LLC’s Zenden, who will be seeking his first stakes victory, was also graded stakes-placed while finishing second in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) last season at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Todd Pletcher named John Velazquez to ride the 4-year-old son of Fed Biz.

Something Special Racing LLC’s Hog Creek Hustle will bring Grade 1 credentials into the Gulfstream Park Mile, having captured the seven-furlong Woody Stephens (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard last year. The Vickie Foley-trained 4-year-old son of Overanalyze, who also finished second in the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga, finished second in the Jan. 18 Duncan Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds in his first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 2.

Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Hog Creek Hustle for the first time Saturday.

Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbreds LLC and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress will return to action in the Gulfstream Park Mile after finishing fifth in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational. The Gustavo Delgado-trained 4-year-old son of Bodexpress, who pressed the pace into the stretch before faltering, had previously finished third in the Harlan’s Holiday.

Emisael Jaramillo has the return call.

Norm Casse-trained Do Share enters the Gulfstream Park Mile off a third-place finish in the Kenner, in which he finished three-quarters of a length behind Hog Creek Hustle. Owned by A. J. Suited Racing Stable LLC, the 7-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride was claimed for $62,500 five starts back and has been in the money in four subsequent starts.

Julien Leparoux has been awarded the return mount.

Partner Stable LLC’s Forever Mo, Joseph Bucci’s Musical Heart, All In The Family Racing’s Expert round out the field.

Pegasus Turf Winner Zulu Alpha Returns in 200k Mac Diarmida

Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker & A Thread of Blue to Meet Pegasus Winner 
One of Nine Graded Stakes Saturday


 HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha, a former claimer who won the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) presented by Runhappy, returns to the races Saturday when he faces a competitive group of nine other older horses in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Zulu Alpha’s competition will include Grade 1 winners Sadler’s Joy and Channel Maker, A Thread of Blue, Armistice Day, Nessy, Spooky Channel and Admission Office.

The Mac Diarmida, contested over a 1 3/8th mile turf course, will be one of nine graded stakes races – 10 total – on Saturday’s program, highlighted by the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2), a major prep race for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1).

First race post time is 11:30 a.m.

Zulu Alpha, a 7-year-old son of Street Cry, was claimed by Hui and trainer Mike Maker in September of 2018 for $80,000. The gelding won the McKnight (G3) and Mac Diarmida (G2) during Gulfstream’s 2018-2019 Championship Meet, and was second in the United Nations (G1) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) last summer and fall. As the calendar turned to 2020, Maker and Hui had to consider whether to defend their title in the McKnight or take a shot in the Pegasus.

“The way Mike put to me is you can go in the McKnight again for $200,000 and you will be even money or you can take a shot,” Hui said. “He knew when he said that I’m all about taking a shot. Why not?”

Under a beautiful ride by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Zulu Alpha slipped through along the rail to win the Pegasus.

“It was great doing it for such a great guy,” said Maker last week. “He’s like a brother to me. It was very special.”

As far as how Zulu Alpha came out of the Pegasus? “He came out super,” he added. “He’s a very big horse, he carries a lot of flesh. He continues to do well and we’re looking forward to another big effort. We’re hoping for a long career.”

While Zula Alpha will be trying to win from off the pace, A Thread of Blue could be a danger on the lead. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt has been on or close to the lead in all his starts. A gate-to-wire winner of the 1 1/8-mile Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes and a winner of more than $1 million, A Thread of Blue enters the Mac Diarmida off a fourth-place finish in the mile Tropical Turf (G3) Jan. 11 off a near three-month layoff.

“He’s training very well,” McLaughlin said. “We ran him a mile first time back this year and it was just a little too short and hustling all the way. Hopefully, he loves this track and hopefully he gets to an uncontested lead or close and gets comfortable. He’s better doing that.”

Joe Bravo gets the mount on A Thread of Blue.

Woodslane Farm’s Sadler’s Joy, a winner of more than $2.4 million, enters the Mac Diarmida off a sixth-place finish behind Zulu Alpha in the Pegasus World Cup. The 8-year-old had previously won the Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct in November. Sadler’s Joy won the Mac Diarmida in 2018 and Sword Dancer (G1) in 2017. Javier Castellano gets the mount for Tom Albertrani.

Channel Maker, trained by Bill Mott, won the Man o’War (G1) last May at Belmont Park. The 6-year-old was second in the Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in October and finished 12th win the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Junior Alvarado gets the mount.

Undefeated Tonalist’s Shape Favored in Davona Dale

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – If a horsemen’s dream is to have a promising 3-year-old colt and 3-year-old filly in his barn as winter turns to spring, then trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. is living the dream.

Not only will Joseph saddle the stakes-winning Chance It in the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, but earlier in the day he will also saddle the undefeated 3-year-old filly Tonalist’s Shape in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2).

The Davona Dale and Fountain of Youth are two of nine graded-stakes races – 10 total stakes – Saturday at Gulfstream along with the simulcast of the $20 million Saudi Cup featuring last year’s Florida Derby (G1) winner Maximum Security.

First race post at Gulfstream is 11:30 a.m. Silks will open at 10 a.m.

The one mile Davona Dale drew a competitive group of 3-year-olds including undefeated Bayerness and Spice Is Nice, Reluctant Bride, and Nikki and Papa, who finished third in her racing debut Feb. 1 behind Tonalist’s Shape in the Forward Gal (G3).

Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Ranch Inc., Tonalist’s Shape won her racing debut at Gulfstream Sept. 28, the same day Chance It won the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Sire Stakes. After winning an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park West, Tonalist’s Shape won the $75,000 Hut Hut Nov. 30 at a mile at Gulfstream West by nine lengths. After a short break, Tonalist’s Shape made her 3-year-old debut a winning one with a 3 ¾-length victory in the Forward Gal.

“She’s done well from 2 to 3,” Joseph said. “After the Hut Hut, we said we were going to give her a break. We looked at the calendar and the Forward Gal looked like a good spot to start her back up. It was seven-eighths. I don’t think she wants to be doing that, but we thought it would be a good spot to start off her 3-year-old campaign, and it worked out well.”

Joseph said while Chance It will “overdo it if you let him,” Tonalist’s Shape will “only do what she has to do.” For good reason, Joseph is anxious to see the filly back in action Saturday. Tyler Gaffalione will ride the filly for the first time.

“She’s a filly we’re excited about,” Joseph added. “We think stretching back out in distance is going to help her. She has a lot of stamina. She has the will to win – that’s a very important attribute. She knows how to win. She’s won for four different jockeys already. She’ll have her fifth jockey Saturday. Tyler’s been on her for her last two works and he’s very happy with her.”

Miracle International Trading, Inc.’s Dream Marie, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Grade 1 winner Graydar, enters the Davona Dale on a three-race winning streak for trainer Matthew Williams. Richard Mitchell has the mount.

Nikki and Papa, an Ohio-bred daughter of Mineshaft who sold for $500,000 as a 2-year-old, got her racing career off to a memorable start by finishing third in the Forward Gal (G3). Trained by Bob Hess, Fanny Olsson will be in the saddle.

Spice Is Nice, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, is a daughter of Curlin who won at first asking Jan. 12 by 12 lengths at a mile. Bayerness, a daughter of Bayern trained by Cherie DeVaux, is undefeated in two starts and will be making her first start since winning an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs Nov. 30. Florent Geroux gets the mount.

Gulfstream Park Daily Results and Activity

Results

Wednesday, February 26
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $12,500 $21,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $50,000 $39,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight $50,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $39,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Claiming – $40,000 $38,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Claiming – $16,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Saturday, February 29 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 3 Hutcheson S. $100,000
Race 4 Palm Beach S. $150,000
Race 5 Honey Fox S. $150,000
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $52,000
Race 7 The Very One S. $150,000
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $50,000
Race 9 Herecomesthebride S. $150,000
Race 10 Davona Dale S. $200,000
Race 11 Canadian Turf S. $150,000
Race 12 Gulfstream Park Mile S. $300,000
Race 13 Mac Diarmida S. $200,000
Race 14 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. $400,000

Final Entries

Friday, February 28
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $39,000
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $33,000
Race 3 Maiden Claiming – $25,000 $29,000
Race 4 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000
Race 5 Maiden Special Weight $44,000
Race 6 Claiming – $20,000 $31,000
Race 7 Claiming – $8,000 $19,000
Race 8 Claiming – $16,000 $28,000
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $75,000 $51,000
Race 10 Claiming – $16,000 $24,000