By Jim Freer
Friday, Oct. 16 – Good and Proper will be among favorites in today’s feature race at the Gulfstream Park West meet, and trainer Larry Bates is hoping that a fast early pace will set up a good trip for his horse’s late-running style.
Good and Proper is among eight entrants for the $62,500 optional claimer at one mile on turf for 3-year-olds and up. It is the third race with scheduled post of 1:21 p.m. The purse is $40,000.
Good and Proper, a 3-year-old gelding, is not in for a tag.
And he comes into the race after a good trip by van on Thursday. He is stabled at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach and the GP West meet, run by Gulfstream, is eight miles west at Calder in Miami Gardens.
“He (Good and Proper) has a good mind and usually a great disposition and is great to be around,” Bates said on Thursday.
“The only problem is that he absolutely hates to get on a van,” Bates said. “He is peaceful about it. Like a conscientious objector.”
To prevent a possible race-day problem, Bates called on some friends to take Good and Proper to Calder on Thursday morning (details below).
“We should not have a problem on Friday,” Bates said. “This shows how racing is about friendships and people and not just money.”
Good and Proper has two wins, a third place finish and a fourth place finish in his last four starts. The two most recent races were stakes.
He is among seven entrants in today’s race that ran in stakes races this summer at Gulfstream and/or at tracks in northern states.
The lone exception is Lord Trondor, who likely will seek the early lead.
Gala Award can be expected to be near the front. That horse is a strong candidate to hit the board–along with Element, Dreams Cut Short, Rompin’ Read and Good and Proper.
Rafael Hernandez will ride Good and Proper, who has post two.
Good and Proper is a Kentucky-bred son of Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2004 Dubai World Cup.
Good and Proper was gelded before he began his racing career and winless in his first four starts. He broke his maiden at one mile on turf at Gulfstream on June 21.
He then won a 1 1/16 mile turf optional claimer (not in for a tag) at Gulfstream on July 11 and finished third in the $75,000 Bears Den Stakes at Gulfstream on July 25.
Then, Bates and breeder/owner Eric Wirth who lives in New York, decided to take a travel chance.
They sent Good and Proper by van to Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., for the $300,000 Dueling Grounds Derby for 3-year-olds. The 1 5/16 mile race was scheduled for Sept. 12. Because of rain it was postponed to Sept. 14.
He went off at 18-1 odds and finished fourth in a strong ten-horse field.
“We made a couple of extra stops with the van to break the trip up, and he handled it OK,” Bates said.
“Once we got there, he was fine,” he added. “We went there because of the money and because I thought he would handle the distance. I thought he was the kind of young horse who could adjust to Kentucky Downs, and he did. It’s a lot like a European course.”
The Kentucky Downs course has a hill and its turns vary in tightness.
Bates was a jockey before he became a trainer in the early 1990s.
Two of the trainers he rode for were National Racing Hall of Fame member Tommy (T.J.) Kelly and his brother Eddie (E.I.) Kelly. Both are deceased.
Larry Kelly, T.J.’s son, owns a company that vans horses between tracks and E.I. Kelly Jr. often works with him.
On Thursday, the Kelly cousins put Good and Proper on a van and drove him eight miles west.
“They made a special effort, and I also want to thank Bill Badgett and Tamara Levy,” Bates said.
Badgett, a consultant to Gulfstream, supervises the racing area and the barns that Gulfstream has leased at Calder. He arranged for Good and Proper to spend a night at Calder and trainer Levy found a stall for him.
Friday at GP West: Good and Proper Seeking Good Trip in Turf Allowance