Saturday, July 26 -- Burn the Mortgage and Grand Tito are the likely favorites in what shapes up as a non-stellar but solid and competitive field for Saturday’s $75,000 Eight Miles East Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The race is 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up. As of 10:30 Saturday morning, nine horses were set to run. Empire Builder was scratched on Saturday morning. Black Diamond Cat was a Main Track Only runner.
Dashing David, Decisive Moment and Padilla also will have their supporters at the betting windows.
None of the entrants have won a turf stakes at Gulfstream.
Burn the Mortgage has three wins and two second place finishes in five Gulfstream turf starts. This Feb. 7 at Gulfstream, he won a 1 1/16 mile race in the fast time of 1:39.32. On March 29, he finished third in the Mervin Muniz (Grade 2) at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Fair Grounds.
Edgard Zayas will ride the 5-year-old Burn the Mortgage for trainer and owner Mike Maker.
Grand Tito is wheeling back after finishing second last Saturday at Gulfstream in the $75,000 Skip Trial at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. He finished 1 ¾ lengths behind Csaba.
On May 24, Grand Tito won the Miami Mile (Grade 3) on the turf at Calder Casino & Race Course. He is a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride.
Manoel Cruz will ride Grand Tito for trainer/owner Mike Maker.
The Eight Miles East has several horses, including Decisive Moment, that likely will seek the lead. That could ensure a fast pace and help horses such as Burn the Mortgage, Grand Tito and Dashing David that will not be on the the lead.
The Eight Miles East is named for an aspect of the July 2013 to June 2014 head-to-head weekend racing between Gulfstream and Calder. Gulfstream, in Hallandale Beach, is eight miles east of Calder in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The Eight Miles East is the ninth race with post time of 5:30 p.m.
By the Numbers: Gulfstream had 96 starters in its ten races Friday. It has averaged an impressive 9.2 starters per race during its 14 racing days since July 1, following the end of head-to-head racing with Calder.
Gulfstream had all-sources handle of $3,607,927 on Friday. It has averaged $3.8 million per day this month, compared with about $3 million during the second half of June.
The Gulfstream handle was almost $400,000 more than Monmouth Park which began its biggest annual weekend that will be topped by the Haskell Invitational (Grade 1) for 3-year-olds on Sunday.
Monmouth in Oceanport, N.J., had $3,281,307 in handle for 10 races. It had 74 starters.