Thursday, December 31, 2015

Itsaknockout Wins in Return at Gulfstream

It was an impressive return to Gulfstream Park for Itsaknockout on Thursday, as he won handily in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race.

Itsaknockout took the lead a furlong from the finish  and went on to win by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:35.02.  Elnaawi rallied to finish second, followed by Just Call Kenny.

Luis Saez rode Itsaknockout for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Starlight Racing

Itsaknockout had not raced since May 2 when he finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1).

Earlier in the year, he came in second in the Fountain of  Youth (Grade 2) at Gulfstream.  But he was dcclared the winner after stewards determined that he was interfered with in the stretch by first place finisher Upstart.

Itsaknockout, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, finished fourth in last year's Florida Derby (Grade 1).
-- Jim Freer

Today We're Live at Gulfstream Park

Hallandale Beach, Florida

Horse Racing FLA is live today under sunny skies at Gulfstream Park. It feels like it could by an April meet, with temperatures near 80.

Hear us on WDBF Radio at 4:00 p.m. ET today. WDBF is an internet-only radio station who’s partnering with us to cover and promote thoroughbred horse racing.

Surf over  to for their  live broadcast.

Today We're Live at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream: Itsaknockout Returns on Thursday for One-Mile Allowance

By Jim Freer

With a cast headed by this year’s Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) winner Itsaknockout, today’s fourth race at Gulfstream Park has the look of a graded stakes and could be a preview of some 2016 Gulfstream stakes races.

The seven-horse field also has General a Rod, with credentials that include a second place finish in the 2004 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream.

Both are trained by Todd Pletcher and both are coming off layoffs.

Trainer Todd Pletcher smiles after winning the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes with Scat Daddy, his fifth win of the card at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida on Saturday March 3, 2007. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO.

Trainer Todd Pletcher

Itsaknockout has not raced since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) on May 2.

In the 1 1/16 mile Fountain of Youth on Feb. 21,Upstart finished first by 2 ¾ lengths over Itsaknockout. But the stewards disqualified Upstart for interference in the stretch and made Itsaknockout the winner.

(Note — the photo on the  home page, courtesy of Gulfstream, shows  Itsaknockout (5) finishing behind Upstart (7) in the Fountain of Youth)

General a Rod has not raced since June 6 when he finished 11th and last in the Manhattan (Grade 1) at 1 ¼ miles turf at Belmont Park. It was his first turf race.

For each horse, it was a case of rest, rather than injuries, according to Don Lucarelli, co-managing partner for owner Starlight Racing.

Starlight owns Itsaknockout and shares ownership of General a Rod with Skychai Racing.

The Field

Today’s star-studded race is one mile on dirt for 3-year-olds and up. It is a $75,000 allowance/optional claimer with a $41,000 purse. Not surprisingly, none of the entrants are in for a tag.

Scheduled post for the race is 2:05 p.m. Gulfstream has a ten-race card with first post of 12:35 p.m.

The challengers to the Pletcher pair are Bluegrass Singer, Sr. Quisqueyano, Elnaawi, Norumbega and Just Call Kenny.

The order of finish could boil down to how readiness of the Pletcher horses.

Both have been training well at Palm Beach Downs in Delray Beach. Two of Itsaknockout’s recent workouts have been bullets.

Another factor could be whether Bluegrass Singer, from the rail, or Sr. Quisqueyano, from the outside seven hole, will be able to jump out to a clear lead.

Itsaknockout, in post two, and General a Rod, in post five, will be stalking the pacesetters.

Luis Saez has ridden Itsaknockout in all five of his starts and has the mount today.

John Velazquez, known for teaming with Pletcher, will ride General a Rod for the fourth consecutive race.

Javier Castellano, who again is leading Gulfstream jockeys in wins, is another Pletcher “go to” rider.

In today’s feature race Castellano will rideBluegrass Singer, a 3-year-old trained by Marcus Vitali.

Trainer Marcus Vitali

Trainer Marcus Vitali

“I’m not concerned about these other horses,” Vitali told us. “He won the Mucho Macho Man here this year at the same distance and he has been training well.”

The Mucho Macho Man, for 3-year-olds, is a one-turn mile–the same as today’s race.

With Castellano riding, Bluegrass Singer won it on Jan. 3 this year in a fast time of 1:35.83.

In 2014 General a Rod won the race, then known as the Gulfstream Park Derby in 1:35.84.

Bullet for  Bluegrass Singer

On Dec. 21, Bluegrass Singer had a bullet workout of 47.0 seconds for a half mile at the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach. It was the fastest of the day’s 45 workouts at that distance.

Bluegrass Singer is owned by Crossed Sabres Farm, which also owns the Vitali-trained multiple stakes winners Lochte and Valid.

Sr. Quisqueyano, trained by Peter Walder, has won multiple stakes at Gulfstream including this year’s Sunshine Millions Classic for Florida-breds. Edgard Zayas has the mount.

Elnaawi finished third in this year’s Donn Handicap (Grade 1) at Gulfstream. Julien Leparoux will ride for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Norumbega’s wins include the 2014 Brooklyn Handicap (Grade 2) at Belmont Park. Joel Rosario will ride for trainer hug McGaughey.

Just Call Kenny has finished third or better in several graded stakes. He is trained by Parick McBurney and will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.


Gulfstream: Itsaknockout Returns on Thursday for One-Mile Allowance

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gulfstream: Istrue Wins First; Super Hi 5 Hit for $1,109.40

Istrue won Wednesday's first race at Gulfstream, leading a first through fifth finish that resulted in the Rolling Super Hi 5 being hit with a payoff of $1,109.40 for a $1 bet.

There were multiple tickets that had a combination with this order.

First     --   2  Istrue
Second --  3 Samus
Third    --  4 Pampam
Fourth  --   9 Cheri's Win
Fifth     --   7 Starship Tammy

Gulfstream went into the day with a carryover of $17,877,39 on the bet because on Sunday, the most recent race day, there were no winning tickets on the Super Hi 5 in the last three races.

A total of $36,441 was bet on the Super Hi 5 in the race. Gulfstream added that pool (minus the 18 percent takeout) to the carryover to pay off winning bettors.

Gulfstream  makes a payout on the bet only if there are one or more tickets with  the first five finishers in correct order.  Otherwise, it puts the race's Super Hi 5 bet into the  carryover.

Wednesday's first race was six furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up that had never won two races.  It was a $6,250 claimer with a $15,000 purse.

Istrue took an early lead and was never headed
as she won by 4 1/2  lengths in 1:11.16 on a track listed as fast.  Jose Caraballo rode Istrue for trainer Ricky Griffith.

Istrue and Starship Tammy were the co 2-1 favorites in the eight-horse field.

There were no winning Super Hi 5 tickets in the second race.  The Super Hi 5 pool for the race was only $595, and was carried over unto he  third race.
As usual, it probably will take several "non hit" races for the Super Hi 5 to   reach a  carryover size that will feed on itself.
--Jim Freer 

GP-- Samus Looking Good in First

For the first at GP, trainer Marcus Vitali reminded us that his trainee Samus had a rough trip in her last race. With  a rider switch to Javier Castellano, he says "we are fishing with the right bait."

GP: Our pick for Super Hi 5--First Race

The first race at Gulfstream  is  at 12:35 p.m

There is a carryover of  $17,877.39 on the Rolling  Super Hi  5 starting on the  first race.

The 6 horse, Exclusively Dixie, scratched--leaving six runners 

Here  is our suggested $1 part wheel,  $24 bet:

first        3  7

second    3 7
third       1   4  9
fourth     1   4  9
fifth         1  2   4  9

we will be back in five minutes with an explanation

The Week Ahead for Gulfstream, Tampa Bay Downs

Both Florida thoroughbred tracks will resume their regular schedules today.

Gulfstream Park will have ten races with first post at 12:35 p.m. Five races are scheduled for turf. Conditions are fast and firm, and there is only a 20 percent chance of showers.

Gulfstream has racing each Wednesday through Sunday. First posts for the remainder of this week are 12:35 p.m. on Thursday and 12:05 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Gulfstream will have five stakes races on Saturday. highlights will include the six-furlong Hutcheson (Grade 3) and the one mile Mucho Macho Man, both for newly turned 3-year-olds.

Tampa Bay Downs will have ten races today with first post of 12:25 p.m. Two races  are scheduled for turf. Conditions are fast and firm, and there is only a 20 percent chance of showers.
-- Jim Freer

Gulfstream: Carryover of Almost $18,000 Spurs Interest in Super Hi 5

By Jim Freer

Gulfstream Park will begin its Wednesday card with a carryover of $17,887.39 on its Rolling Super Hi 5, on which there are payoffs only on tickets that have the first five finishers in correct order.

Today’s carryover is the result of there being no Super Hi 5 winning tickets on any of the last three races this past Sunday.

Our research indicates that Wednesday’s start-of-day carryover is the largest since Gulfstream introduced its novel version of the Super Hi 5 on Dec. 5 at the opening of its championship meet.

Super Hi 5 betting will begin on the first race, with post of 12:35 p.m. It likely will start out heavy and could become a frenzy if nobody hits the first race,

Large Handle Expected

We are projecting that $50,000 or more will be bet on the Super Hi 5 in the first race. That is based on recent volumes on exotic bets early in the day at Gulfstream, some other recent Super HI 5 bets and the popularity of carryovers in the track’s Rainbow 6 bet.Horses to Watch

Gulfstream’s Super Hi 5 is a minimum of $1 per combination bet. The takeout is 18 percent.

There is a Super Hi 5 in every race at Gulfstream, and there are no consolation payouts in situations such as tickets with the first four places in a race where there are no tickets that have the first five finishers in order.

Tampa Bay Downs this season has added a rolling Super High 5 with the same key features as Gulfstream: every race with payout only on five-of-five; $1 minimum; 18 percent takeout.

Our research shows that Tampa Bay Downs this season has not had any end-of-day High 5 carryovers as large as Gulfstream’s of almost $18,000 from Sunday.

The two-day race break has given Gulfstream bettors two days to look over past performances for Wednesday’s first race, and even for some races after that.

Wednesday’s First Race

The first race is six furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. It is a $6,250 claimer with a $15,000 purse. There are nine entrants.

The likely favorites are Starship Tammy, Samus and Starship Galaxy. They are all 3-year-olds. We will handicap the race this morning, after any scratches are announced.

Long-range handicapping similar to that on a Pick 5 or Pick 6 isn’t always sensible for a rolling Super Hi 5 bet. Basically, you have just 25 to 30 minutes in which you know whether or not there is a carryover and whether it is large enough to warrant a significant bet.

For several years, Gulfstream had a traditional High 5, one per day and on the last race. It seldom attracted more than $10,000 in bets, as most Gulfstream bettors put their end-of-day focus on multi-race exotics.

At its recent Gulfstream Park West meet, Gulfstream made the Super Hi 5 an every race bet with a 75-25 rollover. Gulfstream held the 40-day meet at Calder under a lease agreement with that track.

On each race there was a payout on the full Super Hi 5 pool, including any carryover, only if there were one or more tickets with all five positions correct.

Otherwise the tickets that came closest, such as first four spots, divided 75 percent of the race’s Super Hi 5 and 25 percent was added to the carryover.

The total betting on daily rolling Super Hi 5s was larger than on the previous last-race only Super Hi 5 set-up. Exact comparisons are not readily available.

There were several days at GP West when the rolling carryover built up over three or more races and led to very large Super Hi 5 betting.

Bettors at GP West, October 2015

Bettors at GP West, October 2015

One example, from Saturday Oct. 10, is explained in this Gulfstream news release:

“Gulfstream Park West’s Super Hi 5 returned $127,569.70 Saturday afternoon when a carryover built over four races on the popular new wager going into the 10th and final race of the day.

The carryover started building when the sixth race Super Hi 5 wasn’t hit. There was an $11,594 carryover going into the ninth race when Frontier Ranger lit up the tote board by winning and returning $98.40, bringing about a carryover of $58,528 going into the 10th and final race. Bettors wagered $231,341 into the last race Super Hi 5.”

Early this afternoon, Gulfstream bettors will be prepared for the Super Hi 5 rather than having to handicap on the fly.

Rainbow 6 Carryover

On Wednesday, Gulfstream will have a carryover of $33,124.14 on the Rainbow 6 on the last six races. It is a 20-cent only per combination bet.

Gulfstream pays out the full Rainbow 6 pool of the day’s bets (minus 20 percent takeout) plus the carryover only on days when there is just one ticket with all six winners.

On other days it divides 70 percent of the day’s Rainbow 6 bets (minus takeout) among tickets with the most winners and puts the other 30 percent into the carryover.

On Sunday the pool was $51,638. There were 26 tickets with all six winners, and each received $1,112.04. Gulfstream added $12,391 to the carryover, making it $33,124 for Wednesday,

Gulfstream: Carryover of Almost $18,000 Spurs Interest in Super Hi 5

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tampa Bay: Ness Takes Lead in Trainer Standings

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Jamie Ness has taken his accustomed top spot in the trainers’ standings at Tampa Bay Downs.

Ness saddled two winners on Sunday, giving him ten after 15 days of the Oldsmar track’s 2015-2016 meet.

Trainer Jamie Ness and his wife Mandy Ness
Trainer Jamie Ness and his wife Mandy Ness

The wins moved Ness ahead of Gerald Bennett, who has nine after going winless on Sunday.

Kathleen O’Connell, Dennis Ward and Dale Bennett (Gerald’s son) each have six wins and are tied for third place. Ness leads in purses won with $153,587. Gerald Bennett is second with $124,303, followed by O’Connell with $102,060.

Tampa Bay Downs will resume racing on Wednesday with ten races and first post of 12:25 p.m.

Gerald Bennett has horses entered in four races and Ness has horses entered in three races.

Ness has led or tied in most trainer wins each of the last nine seasons at Tampa Bay.

In 2014-2015 he had 46 wins, followed by Gerald Bennett with 43 and O’Connell with 39.

O’Connell, partly through her success in stakes races, led in purses won with $648,271. Gerald Bennett was second with $641,939 and Ness was third with $549,498.

In a tandem that results in numerous low-odds winners Ness often teams with Antonio Gallardo, Tampa Bay’s leader in jockey victories each of the last two years.

On Sunday, Gallardo had for winners including the two saddled by Ness. The Ness winners were the 4-year-old colt Tree Fire in the second race and the 5-year-old mare Indy Breeze  in the third  race.

Gallardo  leads the jockey standings with 30 victories. Jose Ferrer is second with 12 and Daniel Centeno is third with 11 victories.

Midwest Thoroughbreds, one of Ness’s regular clients, leads the Tampa Bay owners’ standings with five wins. Jagger Inc., Ness’s stable, has four wins and is among several stables tied for second place.

Ness, who is 41, also trains in Maryland. He was leading trainer at Pimlico this spring and he has horses stabled this winter at Laurel Park.

“I usually start off a little slow here (Tampa Bay) because a lot of my horses are up north,” Ness said. “We get better as time goes on, so I think it (December) was an unusually good month for our stable.”
Turf Dash Nominees
Mongolian Saturday, the winner of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1), heads an impressive list of 29 nominees for the $100,000, five-furlong Turf Dash that will be run at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 9.

The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Mongolian Stable and trained by Enebish Ganbat.

Mongolian Saturday won the Breeders’ Cup race on Oct. 31 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. It was his 11th consecutive finish of third or better.

However, on Dec. 13 he finished fifth in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.

Other top Turf Dash nominees include:

* Bold Thunder, winner of the 2015 Turf Dash when he set the Tampa Bay Downs course record of 54.63

* Ancil, winner of the 2014 Turf Dash

* Fast Flying Rumor, winner of the Turf Dash Prep on Dec. 11

* Richies Sweetheart, the 4-year-old filly who won the Lightning City Stakes on Dec. 19. That 5-furlong turf stakes was restricted to fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

Tampa Bay: Ness Takes Lead in Trainer Standings

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jewel of a Cat Wins Windley Key at Gulfstream

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Jewel of a Cat prevailed in a four-horse stretch duel and beat Tesalina by a neck in Sunday’s $75,000 Windley Key Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Catching Fireflies finished another neck behind in third place, with Aquinnah coming in another half-length back in fourth.

Jewel of a Cat, the 7-5 favorite, was ridden by Paco Lopez and won in 55.34 seconds in the 5-furlong turf race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

It was Jewel of a Cat’s second straight stakes victory since joining the stable of trainer Carlo Vaccarezza.

On Nov. 7, the 5-year-old mare won in a field that included males in the $100,000 Millions Turf Sprint Preview during the Gulfstream Park West meet at Calder (photo on home page).

On Sunday, Jewel of a Cat became involved in a three-horse battle for the lead with Silver Sashay and Aquinnah along the backstretch and around the far turn.

After Silver Sashay dropped out of contention on the turn into the homestretch, Jewel a Cat battled with Aquinnah through the stretch before edging away and holding off a late inside surge by Tesalina.

“She’s always game,” Vaccarezza said. “She’s a fighter. They put a lot of pressure on her today. That’s what shows what she’s made of.”

Transfer to Florida

Late this summer, John Williams (a partner in Vaccarezza’s restaurant business) bought out his partner in Jewel of a Cat. Williams then transferred the Florida-bred mare to Vaccarezza from Ben Perkins, who had saddled her for a victory in the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park last February.

After pondering the possibility of breeding his mare to Empire Maker, the 2013 Florida Derby winner, Williams decided to keep her in training.

“She’s a very quality mare,” said Vaccarezza, an owner of Frank & Dino’s Restaurant in Deerfield Beach.

“Maybe next time she’ll run in the Sunshine Millions (Turf Sprint on Jan. 16),” he said. “She’s already beaten the boys.”

Gulfstream Park — Dec. 27, 2015 —Race 3

7 -JEWEL OF A CAT 4.80 3.20 2.60

4 -TESALINA-CHI 5.00 3.60


$2 EXACTA 7-4 PAID $22.80; $1 TRIFECTA 7-4-8 PAID $82.70; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 7-4-8-5 PAID $25.56; $1 SUPER HIGH FIVE 7-4-8-5-2 PAID $972.30

Photo by Lauren King, Gulfstream Park

Jewel of a Cat Wins Windley Key at Gulfstream

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Preview: Jewel of a Cat Heads Stakes Field at Gulfstream

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

After taking on the boys, and beating them, the 5-year-old mare Jewel of Cat will return to the races this afternoon in a stakes restricted to distaff runners.

Jewel of a Cat, trained by Carlo Vaccarezza, is the probable favorite in the $75,000 Windley Key Stakes at Gulfstream Park. It is five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

Carlo Vaccarezza
Carlo Vaccarezza

The Windley Key is today’s third race with scheduled post of 1:35 p.m.

Gulfstream has a ten-race card with first post of 12:35 p.m. Six races are scheduled for turf, on a day when there is little prospect of rain.

In her most recent race, on Nov. 7, Jewel of a Cat defeated the 4-year-old filly Katie’s Kiss by three lengths in the $100,000 Millions Turf Sprint Preview. They were the only females among nine runners in the five-furlong turf stakes at Calder, the site of he Gulfstream Park West meet.

Paco Lopez rode Jewel of a Cat in the Nov. 7 race and has the mount today. He rode Jewel of a Cat in her only other Gulfstream start, a win in the five-furlong Ladies Turf Sprint this past Feb. 21.

Jewel of a Cat, owned by J and J Stables, has post seven and is the 3-1 morning line favorite among eight entrants.

She generally races on or near the lead, as does Silver Sashay the 7-2 second choice in the morning line,

Silver Sashay has a four-race win streak, all at five furlongs at Gulfstream. Three were on turf, and one was taken off turf due to rain.

However, the 5-yea-old Silver Sashay is less stakes-tested than Jewel of a Cat and has post three–inside of Jewel of a Cat.

Alfred McIntosh trains Silver Sashay, and Edgard Zayas has the mount.

Tesalina (Wesley Ward/Jose Valdivia Jr.) and Aquinnah (Javier Castellano/Jane Cibelli) could pose late-running threats.

* Tampa Bay Downs has ten races today, with first post at 12:28 p.m. Four races are scheduled for turf.

Sunday Preview: Jewel of a Cat Heads Stakes Field at Gulfstream

Tampa Bay: Cement Clement Makes It 2-For-2 in Turf Test Series

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Trainer Tony Wilson’s instructions to jockey Jose Ferrer were brief and to the point before they sent Cement Clement to post for the male division of the Tampa Turf Test starter handicap series Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

“He told me ‘Break good and hang on,’ and I said ‘You got it, Tony,’ ” Ferrer said after riding the 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding to a three-and-a-quarter length victory in the eighth race.

Owned by Pat and Ron Scorese, Cement Clement traveled the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in 1:42.07, winning in gate-to-wire fashion. Dubai Timewas second and Cut to Order finished third.

Next Race

Cement Clement is 2-for-2 at Tampa Bay Downs, having won the mile division of the four-leg Tampa Turf Test on Nov. 28. Wilson indicated he will be pointed to the third leg of the series at a mile-and-an-eighth on Jan. 30.

“He seems to like Tampa Bay Downs, and I think he can go a little farther,” Wilson said. “Everything is going along good with him and we’re really having fun with him.”

Now 7-for-19 in his career, with all his victories on the turf, Cement Clement is a son of 2004 Tampa Bay Derby winner Limehouse, out of Gouge, by Repriced.

Ferrer was a riding replacement for Ricardo Feliciano, who was in Ohio with family members.

“Somebody has to ride him, and I won a lot of races for Tony this summer,” Ferrer said. “It was real nice – he broke on top and he was gone.”

Cement Clement, who was second in the 2014 Tropical Park Derby at Calder, paid $4.60 to win as the heavy betting favorite.

The walking ring at Tampa Bay Downs Photo by Barry Unterbrink
The walking ring at Tampa Bay Downs
Photo by Barry Unterbrink

Ferrer also won the first race on 21-1 shot Cowboy Luke, a 6-year-old gelding owned by William Rivera and trained by Victor Carrasco, Jr. Ferrer has ridden 3,992 winners in his career.

Daddy’s Boo Wires Field

The second leg of the Fillies and Mares Division of the Tampa Turf Test, contested two races earlier, was eerily similar to the male division, as the 4-year-old Florida-bred filly Daddy’s Boo continues to prove a solid investment for owner Vince Foglia (Patricia’s Hope, LLC) and trainer Larry Rivelli.

Since being claimed for $50,000 at Gulfstream in December 2014, she has won three of her five starts.

Daniel Centeno, who was riding Daddy’s Boo for the first time, didn’t have to think much about tactics. The daughter of Sweet Return-Precocious Pet, by Slew Gin Fizz, is a confirmed front-runner.

After talking to Rivelli, Centeno knew his role was to get the lead, let her use her natural speed and conserve enough energy for the stretch run.

Check, check and check, with Daddy’s Boo powering home for a three-and-three-quarter length victory from Cara’s Nay Nay in 1:42.67 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance.

Cara’s Nay Nay won the first leg of the Tampa Turf Test on Nov. 28. Daddy’s Boo won her first local start Dec. 4, winning on the Oldsmar turf at the $16,000 claiming level.

Long shots Red Letter and Wildly Good Lookin finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 10-horse field. Daddy’s Boo paid $5.40 to win.

“When we got to the lead, I tried to get her to relax and slow it down a little to save my horse for the end,” Centeno said. “When I asked her at the quarter-mile pole, she really took off. I didn’t see anyone coming, and I had plenty of horse left.”

Daddy’s Boo improved to 5-for-9 lifetime, with all of her victories on the turf.

Saturday’s attendance was 4,191. All-sources handle for the 11-race card was $5,623,579. Both were second highest through 14 days of the 2015-2016 meet.

Tampa Bay: Cement Clement Makes It 2-For-2 in Turf Test Series

Gulfstream: Charming Kitten Takes McKnight For First Graded Stakes Win

By Jim Freer

Charming Kitten achieved a major breakthrough on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, winning the $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (Grade 3) for his grist victory in a graded stakes.

The 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy came into the race with four second place finishes and two third place finishes in 16 graded stakes starts.

The 17th time proved the charm for Charming Kitten. He took the lead a furlong from the finish and held off a late run by Kaigun to win by a neck in the McKnight at 1 ½ miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up.

Two races later at Gulfstream, Goldy Espony won the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (Grade 3) giving her three Grade 3 victories this year.

Goldy Espony, the even money favorite, led gate to wire in winning the 1 ½ mile turf stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. She beat 35-1 shot Maximova by 1 ½ lengths. Rosalind finished another neck back in third.

Also at Gulfstream on Saturday, Best Behavior beat Stonetastic by two lengths in the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (Grade 3) at six furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

All-sources handle for Saturday’s eleven races was $11,671,158. That was the highest in the 14 days of Gulfstream’s 2015-2016 championship meet that began Dec. 5.

The previous high was $10,470,456 for eleven races on Saturday Dec. 19.

There were 119 starters Saturday for an average of 10.8 per race. It was the eighth day of the meet with more than ten starters per race. Six of Saturday’s races were on turf.

W.L McKnight

Charming Kitten was ridden by John Velazquez and won in 2:27.76 on the course listed as firm.

Charming Kitten is trained by Todd Pletcher and is a homebred of Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

The Ramseys also bred and owned Kitten’s Joy, the 2004 Eclipse Award turf champion, and they breed many of their mares to him. The dam of Charming Kitten Is Iteration.

Gulfstream Park: 9th race, Dec. 26,2015

9-CHARMING KITTEN 11.20 5.40 3.00

10 -KAIGUN 4.40 2.80

11 -DA BIG HOSS 2.20

$2 EXACTA 9-10 PAID $54.60; $1 TRIFECTA 9-10-11

PAID $55.90; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 9-10-11-6 PAID

$63.32; $1 SUPER HIGH FIVE 9-10-11-6-3 PAID $6,322.40

Goldy Espony wins the La Prevoyante -- Gulfstream, Dec. 26, 2015
Goldy Espony wins the La Prevoyante — Gulfstream, Dec. 26, 2015

La Prevoyante

Goldy Espony, a 4-year-old, was ridden by Javier Castellano and won in 2:29.51.

Chad Brown trains Goldy Espony for Swift Thoroughbreds and Bradley Thoroughbreds.

The win was the fifth in six starts this year for Goldy Espony, an Irish-bred daughter of Vespone.

Gulfstream Park — 11th race, Dec. 26, 2015

12 -GOLDY ESPONY-FR 4.20 3.60 2.80

2 -MAXIMOVA 23.80 13.40

7 -ROSALIND 4.80

$2 EXACTA 12-2 PAID $98.20; $1 TRIFECTA 12-2-7

PAID $353.90; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 12-2-7-11 PAID

$238.36; $1 SUPER HIGH FIVE 12-2-7-11-5 PAID $24,258.10

Sugar Swirl

Best Behavior, a 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, gave trainer Marty Wolfson still another win in a distaff stakes race at Gulfstream.

With John Velazquez riding, Best Behavior took the lead after a half mile and won the Sugar Swirl in 1;09.69. She was the 5-1 second betting choice in the seven-horse field.

It was the first graded stakes win for Best Behavior, who is owned by Miller Racing whose principals live in Palm Beach County.

On Dec. 12, Best Behavior finished second to the Wolfson-trained Cali Star in the one-mile Rampart (Grade 3) at Gulfstream. Cali Star is owned by Ben Walden Jr. and Larry Taylor.

Gulfstream Park — Fourth Race, Dec.26,2015

4 -BEST BEHAVIOR 12.20 3.20 2.40

2 -STONETASTIC 2.20 2.10


$2 EXACTA 4-2 PAID $25.60; $1 TRIFECTA 4-2-1 PAID $46.10; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 4-2-1-5 PAID $14.47; $1 SUPER HIGH FIVE 4-2-1-5-3 PAID $289.60

Gulfstream: Charming Kitten Takes McKnight For First Graded Stakes Win

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Liar's Smoken Rides to Win 10th at Tampa Bay

Liar's Smoker Bested Stranahan Dragon in the Final Race at Tampa Bay Downs Today.

The 1-1/16th mile turf race completed the final leg of the Pick-5 wager today.
About 70 tickets split the pool plus carryover of money to win $492 and change.

Liar's Smoker was mounted by Mike Allen and went off at 4:1.

5  $10.40$5.20$4.80

Jose Ferrer Rides Cement Clement to Win 8th at Tampa Bay

Cement Clement and Jose Ferrer cemented a nice win today in Tampa Bay's 8th race.
Dubai Time finished 3-1/4 lengths back, followed by Cut To Order
The winning time was 1:42.07 on the 1-1/16 mile turf course with a $21,000 purse.

Cement Clement is trained by Tony Wilson and owned by Pat and Ron Scorese.


McKnight Coming Up at Gulfstream

The McKnight, the first of two Grade 3 turf stakes at 1 1/2 miles is coming up at Gulftream.

We'll go with Charming Kitten, the 9 horse, with John Velazquez riding for Todd Pletcher.

Best Behavior Wins Sugar Swirl for Wolfson

Best Behavior won Saturday's $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (Grade 3) giving trainer Marty Wolfson still another win in a distaff stakes race at Gulfstream Park.

Best Behavior, a 5-year-old Ontario-bred, beat the 3-10 favorite Stonetastic by two lengths in the six-furlong dirt stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

With John Velazquez riding, Best Behavior took the lead after a  half mile and won in 1;09.69.  She was the 5-1 second betting choice in the seven-
horse field.

It was the first graded stakes win for Best Behavior, who is owned by Miller Racing whose principals live in Palm Beach County.

On Dec. 12, Best Behavior finished second to the Wolfson-trained Cali Star in the one-mile Rampart (Grade 3) at Gulfstream.  Cali Star is owned by Ben Walden Jr. and Larry Taylor.

Daddy's Boo Takes Tampa's 6th; First Leg of Pick 5

Daddy's Boo, mounted by Daniel Centano, rode to victory in the 6th race at Tampa Bay Downs.

The winning time was 1:42.67

The Pick 5 wager attracted $39,818 today.
Cara's Nay Nay ran for the Place, and Red Letter for the Show wager.

3     $5.40 $3.60$3.20

Saturday: Graded Stakes at Gulfstream; Gallardo Hot at Tampa; QH Meet Opens at Hialeah.

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Today will be the busiest day yet in Florida’s 2015-2016 racing season.

* Gulfstream Park will have three Grade 3 stakes races, all with $100,000 purses.

The Sugar Swirl is six furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up.

The W.L. McKnight is 1 ½ miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up.

The La Prevoyante is 1 ½ miles on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

*Tampa Bay Downs will have ten races, with four on the turf surface that is attractive to bettors.

Antonio Gallardo, who leads the jockey standings 25-9 over Daniel Centeno has mounts in nine of the races.

* Hialeah Park will open its seventh consecutive season of Quarter Horse racing, amid ongoing questions of “will the thoroughbreds ever come back?”

We have posted previews of all three tracks on our blog.

This afternoon on our blog, we will have on-site coverage at Gulfstream and we will be monitoring Tampa Bay.

Saturday: Graded Stakes at Gulfstream; Gallardo Hot at Tampa; QH Meet Opens at Hialeah.

Tampa Bay: Gallardo Building Huge Lead in Jockey Standings

Tampa Bay Downs’s two-time defending jockey champion Antonio Gallardo heads into today with what appears to be a commanding lead in his quest for a three-peat.

First post is 12:28 p.m. for the ten-race card.

Gallardo rode four winners on Wednesday, the most recent race day at the Oldsmar track.

He has 25 victories through 13 race days. That gives him a comfortable lead over Daniel Centeno who has nine wins. Fernando De La Cruz, Jose Ferrer and Ademar Santos each have eight wins.

Gallardo has nine mounts today, including five horses trained by Jamie Ness.

Through Wednesday, Gerald Bennett leads trainers with nine wins and Ness is  second with eight wins.

Also through Wednesday, Gallardo has ridden 312 winners this year. That puts him in second place in North America, behind last year’s Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano.

But a look at purses won indicates the difference  between the national Graded stakes circuit where Castellano rides and  the still decent purses at Tampa Bay Downs and at Presque Isles Downs in Erie, Pa. Those are the two  tracks where Gallardo does most  of his riding.

Castellano leads in purses won by his horses with $27,878,589. Gallardo is in 40th place with $5,354,873.

A jockey generally receives between 5 and 10 percent of a horse’s purse, and uses part of that money to pay his agent and valet.
--Jim Freer

Gulfstream Today: Sugar Swirl, McKnight, La Prevoyante

Today's racing at Gulfstream Park is topped by a trio of Grade 3 races, all with $100,000 purses.

They are part of an 11-race card that has first post at 12:05  p.m.

The stakes races are
* Sugar Swirl -- 6 furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.  It is the fourth race with scheduled post of 1:35 p.m.

* W.L. McKnight -- 1 1/2 miles on turf for 3-year-olds and up. It is the ninth race with scheduled post of 4:05 p.m.

* La Prevoyante -- 1 1/2 miles on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.  It is the 11th race with scheduled post of 5:05 p.m.

We will have coverage of all three races this afternoon.

The Sugar Swirl has seven entrants. Stonetastic, Best Behavior and Dogwood Trail are likely favorites.

Stoneway Farm’s Stonetastic, who captured the 2014 Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, chased the early pace into the stretch run of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) on Oct. 31 before weakening to eighth, beaten by less than six lengths.

 “She came out of the Breeders’ Cup good and fresh. That’s why we’re running,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “It’s just a matter of timing to see where we’re at. Turning back from seven to six furlongs looks like a good distance for her.”

Paco Lopez has the mount aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast.

Miller Racing’s Best Behavior, who came off a four-month layoff to finish second behind Cali Star in the one-mile Rampart Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Dec.12, is set for a quick return to action in the Sugar Swirl.

“I planned on this race first. I hadn’t planned on running a mile, but Mr. Miller just wanted to try it fresh off the bench,” trainer Marty Wolfson said. “She ran her heart out, but she’s better going shorter.”

Wolfson saddled Cali Star for an impressive victory in the Rampart but was equally impressed with Best Behavior’s effort off a long layoff.

“Best Behavior has a huge heart,” said Wolfson, who is pointing Cali Star to the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) at Sam Houston Park Jan. 30. “She ran a great race. She hadn’t run since July and I only worked her four times.”

Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the return mount aboard the 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief.

In July, Dogwood Trail won the Azalea at seven furlongs at Gufstream for trainer Stan Gold and owner Jacks or Better Farm. Jeffrey Sanchez will ride.

All three of the horses listed above have early speed. If any of them falter, Miss Melinda would be a good candidate  to get into the exacta. Junior Alvarado will ride 
--Jim Freer

Hialeah Opens QH Season Today Amid Questions About Future

Hialeah Park will open its seventh consecutive season of Quarter Horse racing today, amid ongoing questions of “will the thoroughbreds ever come back?”

First post will be 12:35 p.m. for the nine-race card at the historic track in Hialeah.

It will be the first day of a 40-day quarter horse meet that will extend through Feb. 29.  

The regular racing schedule will be Fridays through Mondays. For opening week it is today through this coming Tuesday, because Hialeah Park’s management did not want to race on Christmas day.

Hialeah has not had thoroughbred racing since 2001, and there is no immediate prospect of a return.

Hialeah has not had a thoroughbred permit or license since  2002. Under its Quarter Horse permit and license, it can run as many as 20 Thoroughbred races a year. 

The track’s chairman John Brunetti Sr. would like to bring back thoroughbreds even on a limited basis.  He has not done so largely because there have been no spots on the schedule where Hialeah could run thoroughbreds without going head-to-head with  Gulfstream Park or with Calder.

Meanwhile, Hialeah continues heavy promotions for the casino that it opened in 2012.  To keep its casino, Hialeah must have races at least 40 days  per year under its quarter horse license.  

But that  requirement and similar requirements for other Florida pari-mutuels could soon be eliminated. The Florida Legislature will  open its annual  session o Jan. 12.  It will consider allowing decoupling--under which a horse track, greyhound track or jai-ali fronton could stop holding live events but still have poker, in-bound simulcasts (including thoroughbreds) and, where permissible, casinos with slot machines.

At legislative hearings early this year and in other forums, Hialeah Park officials have said they would like to be eligible for decoupling. But they have not said that Hialeah Park would plan to take that step.

Brunetti will return from a vacation in early January.  We are scheduled to talk with him for an article on his plans for Hialeah in 2016 and in future years. 
--Jim Freer 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thoroughbred Tracks Observe Christmas, Not So the Casinos

By Jim Freer

Unless we missed one, there is not a single thoroughbred track in the United States or Canada, that had racing yesterday, Christmas Eve, or that has racing today, Christmas Day.

Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach and Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar are among the North American tracks not running Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

On the other hand, our phone calls and Internet research show that “yes, we’re open” Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is the word at all of the 15 casinos in Florida, including Gulfstream.

It is undoubtedly the same at most casinos that have been proliferating at race tracks and on Tribal lands in numerous other states.

In Florida, seven casinos are run by the Seminole Tribe, one is run by the Miccosukee Tribe and seven are at pari-mutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.300x250-banner_Dec-21-15

Christmas Schedules

Gulfstream usually runs on Thursday and Friday, but not so during this week of religious importance to most Floridians. Tampa Bay Downs is dark on Thursdays, but runs on Fridays other than this week.

Tampa Bay Downs does not have a casino. Its poker room was open Christmas Eve, but not Christmas Day. At the Seminole Hard Rock off I-4 in Tampa it is business as usual both days–for Las Vegas-style slots, poker and blackjack.

Gulfstream’s casino rooms and poker room are open both days. It’s the same with the six other pari-mutuel casinos and the four Tribal casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Hialeah Park has not had thoroughbred racing since 2001. It will open its seventh straight quarter horse meet this Saturday.

Hialeah’s normal schedule for ten weeks will be Fridays through Mondays. But it pushed its opener back a day to keep from running on Christmas.

The casinos at Hialeah and at Calder Casino & Race Course (photo on home page) were both open their regular Christmas Eve and Christmas day hours.

Calder Situation

The only racing at Calder is now for 40 days each October and November as the Gulfstream Park West meet that is run by Gulfstream under a lease agreement that extends through 2020.

Churchill Downs Inc., Calder’s parent, agreed to that lease to meet state regulatory requirements for keeping the casino at Calder.

Meanwhile, Calder is prominent among pari-mutuels that would like to decouple their casinos from live racing–if the Florida Legislature allows that change in operations.

If decoupling is approved Florida horse tracks, greyhound tracks and jai-alai frontons would no longer be required to hold the live racing and games for which they were originally licensed. But they could keep their poker rooms, in-bound simulcasts (including thoroughbreds) and casinos where permitted.

If decoupling is approved there are expectations that Calder might attempt a full exit from racing by finding a way to break its racing lease with Gulfstream.

Gulfstream has racing from December through September and uses October and November to refurbish its turf course and for general sprucing up round its facility.

Decoupling looms as a central issue for the Legislature in its regular session from Jan. 12 to March 11.

The starting point for the 2016 gaming debate is the revised Seminole Compact that Gov. Rick Scott sent to the Legislature early this month.

In its current form, the Compact would not be voided if decoupling is permitted for Florida pari-mutuels.

Concerns of Horsemen

The widespread view among Florida thoroughbred breeders, owners and trainers is that decoupled pari-mutuels would be able to take marketing resources away from their current money-losing racing and spend it promoting their casinos.

The horsemen are concerned that the result would be a shift of some gaming dollars from wagering at Gulfstream and Tampa Bay to slots and poker at decoupled casinos – thus leading to problems that could include lower race purses and fewer races.TBDowns_Logo550

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is the most adamant opponent of decoupling. The Florida HBPA’s members are trainers and owners who race their horses at Gulfstream and at the Gulfstream Park West venues.

For ongoing reports on decoupling issues, we suggest that you visit the Florida HBPA-sponsored Web site

Starting early next week we will have ongoing and regular coverage of the legislative debate on decoupling, the Seminole Compact and other issues related to thoroughbred racing.

Who’s Open?

It should be noted that many Florida casinos also are destinations for dining and entertainment. But there’s no escaping that their reason for being is slot machines – even on Christmas day.

And don’t forget that if you are driving to a Florida casino today, you can stop and buy Florida Lottery tickets at almost any open convenience store. That's been the case since 1987.

“Who’s open on Christmas?” is tied to decades of tradition, or a lack thereof.

The thoroughbred tracks extend back decades to an era when closing for Christmas was an established practice for U.S. businesses. It also was a period when profits could be made in the now struggling greyhound racing industry, which is leading the fight for decoupling of live events from other gaming.

Thoroughbred Tracks Observe Christmas, Not So the Casinos

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Golden Rule, at  3-1, won the seventh at Tampa, knocking us out of the Pick 5.  Antonio  Gallardo rode, for his fifth winner on the card.

A total of  $130,461 was bet on the Pick 5 today.   That  is added to  the carryover of $18,948.

After WDBF at 4 p.m.  we will need to  take an unplanned break for some Christmas activities.

Horse Racing FLA's Posting Schedule Changes

Dear Horse Racing FLA reader:

Please note that our previews of and reports on the results of weekday races and Sunday

races at Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park can now generally be found on our blog.

We are using this Web site primarily for reporting on Saturday races, previews of

stakes races, and other racing news and feature stories.


Jim Freer, editor

Horse Racing FLA

Horse Racing FLA's Posting Schedule Changes

Hear us at at 4 today

We will be guests this afternoon at 4 p.m. on on It's Post Time with JJ Graci and Samm Graci.

We will be talking about upcoming races at Gulfstream and  the politics of racing
-- Jim Freer

Divine Ambition Wins First Leg of Tampa Pick 5

Divine Ambition won the 6th at Tampa Bay, keeping us  and many others alive in the Pick 5.

In the 7th, we have singled out Dreamcastle, the  6 horse shipping in from Gulfstream.

A Pick 4
7th  1  6 7
8th   5  7  10
9th    6  9
10th  1 2 3 4  10
for 50 cent bet  $45

Race 6 results:
2    $5.00 $3.00 $2.40
4. $3.00 $2.40
9.. $3.00

Heading into Pick 5 at Tampa

The Pick 5 with a $19,000 carryover starts with  the sixth race at 2:55

Here is our imaginary ticket
6th   2  4 9
7th    6
8th    5 7 10
9th    3  6  9
10th   1  2  4  10

total  for a 50 cent bet is $54

Underway at Both Tracks

Strolleriintherain, at 3-5, won the first at Tampa Bay with Fernando De La Cruz riding for Jason Decosta.

Aplomb, at 3-1, won the Gulfstream opener for Luis Saez and Mike Maker.

We will be back around 2:30 and will focus on  the Tampa Bay Pick 5.
--Jim Freer

Wednesday Preview: Fast and Firm at Each Track, With $18,984 Pick Five Carryover at Tampa

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Conditions are fast and firm today at Gulfstream Park and at Tampa Bay Downs as each track begins an abbreviated Christmas week schedule.

They will not have racing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and will resume their regular schedules on Saturday and Sunday.

We will monitor today’s racing and other developments on our blog.

Tampa Bay has ten races with first post time of 12:25 p.m.

The day’s highlight is a carryover of $18,984 on the Pick 5 on the sixth through tenth races, commencing at 2:55 p.m. It is a 50 cent minimum bet.

Gulfstream Park has ten races with first post time of 12:35 p.m.

Wednesday Preview: Fast and Firm at Each Track, With $18,984 Pick Five Carryover at Tampa

Gulfstream: XY Jet Soars in Mr. Prospector, with Sunshine Millions Likely Next Stop

By Jim Freer

XY Jet left his trainer Jorge Navarro and Gulfstream Park fans in awe on Saturday with a runaway win at sonic-like speed in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (Grade 3).

On Tuesday, Navarro said that XY Jet “came out of the race good.” So, he added that he and owner Gelfenstein Farm are planning that the horse’s next race will be the $150,000 Sunshine Million Sprint at Gulfstream on Jan. 16.

The Mr. Prospector and Sunshine Millions Sprint, which is restricted to Florida breds. are both six furlongs on dirt. XY Jet (photo on home page) won the Mr. Prospector in 1:08.56 on a track listed as fast.

In the Mr. Prospector, XY Jet jumped out to an early lead under jockey Emisael Jaramillo and was never challenged as he beat the late-running Grande Shores by 9 ¼ lengths.

It was the 3-year-old gelding’s third wire-to-wire win in his last three starts, after being sidelined six months with injuries.

“I expected him to run a big race, but I was surprised at how big it was,” Navarro said.

Just how fast was the dark grey XY Jet?

Big Drama Wins the 2011 Mr. Prospector

Big Drama Wins the 2011 Mr. Prospector

Big Drama, with a 1:08.12 on Jan. 15, 2011, is the only horse with a faster clocking for the Mr. Prospector in the 30 times it has been run at six furlongs. Big Drama also set a track record when he won the Mr. Prospector.

Trip to Dubai?

If XY Jet has a strong race in the Sunshine Millions, Navarro said a $2 million race in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai on March 26 could be part of the horse’s 2016 schedule.

“Dubai is one of the possibilities,” Navarro said, “We will need to see what happens in the Sunshine Millions. This (Gelfenstein) is an owner that will always do what is best for the horse.”

Big Drama set his Gulfstream records ten weeks after he won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs and two days before he was announced as the winner of the 2010 Eclipse Award as Champion male Sprinter.

XY Jet’s win in the Mr. Prospector was his first in a stakes. His achievements thus far are not in a league with champions like Big Drama.

But XY Jet’s race in the Mr. Prospector produced an exhilarating end for a 2015 campaign that began with optimism and had some injuries in between.

XY Jet Wins the Mr. Prospector, Dec. 19, 2015

XY Jet Wins the Mr. Prospector, Dec. 19, 2015

XY Jet is a son of Kantharos, who has produced the most winners among horses that began stud duty in Florida in 2011. Gelfenstein Farm bought XY Jet for $56,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. sale in August 2013.

XY Jet ended 2014 with a second place finish that Dec. 14 in the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

This past Jan. 24 he finished second in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (Grade 3) at Gulfstream.

Stumble in Swale

But on March 7 at Gulfstream, he almost fell shortly after the start of the seven-furlong Swale (Grade 2) and was eased in the stretch by jockey Jesus Rios.

It was soon discovered that XY Jet had several injuries, including a bone chip in one of his knees.

During the summer Gelfenstein switched XY Jet to Navarro from Antonio Sano, another of its regular trainers whose achievements include being leading trainer in wins last year and this year in the Gulfstream Park West meets held at Calder.

“I was at Monmouth Park, and he was one of several horses they sent up to me,” Navarro said,

Navarro led trainers in wins at this summer’s meet at Monmouth in Oceanport, N.J. One win was by XY Jet on Sept. 20 in an allowance/optional claimer at six furlongs.

XY Jet was among the horses that Navarro during October brought back to his barn at Calder.

On Nov. 1, XY Jet won a six furlong optional claimer at Calder in 1:09.33. The Calder track record track record for that distance is 1:08.95. Forty One Carats set it on Oct. 7, 2000 in the Smile Sprint Handicap (Grade 2).

XY Jet was the 2-1 second betting choice in the Mr. Prospector, and was the only three-year-old in the seven-horse field.

Stallwalkin’ Dude was the 7-5 favorite, based on his strong season that included a win in the Claiming Crown’s seven-furlong Rapid Transit Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 5.

The big question was whether any horses could challenge XY Jet in the early running and perhaps set the race up for Stallwalkin’ Dude or others, in particular Speechify who won last year’s Mr. Prospector.

The answer was a resounding “no.”

XY Jet shot to the front and set fast fractions. He led Singanothersong by 1 ½ lengths after a quarter mile in 21:92 seconds.

He expanded that lead to 7 ½ lengths, with Singanothersong still second, after a half mile in 44.29 seconds.

Cruise Control

XY Jet was basically on cruise control the rest of the race as he won for the fourth time in 12 career starts. He also has five second place finishes and one third place finish.

Trainer Stanley Gold

Trainer Stanley Gold

Grande Shores rallied from seventh and finished three-quarters of a length ahead of his stablemate C. Zee. Both horses are trained by Stan Gold and owned by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm.

C. Zee came in 7 ¼ lengths ahead of fourth place finisher Speechify. The remaining order of finish was Stallwakin’ Dude, Singanothersong (the 2013 Mr. Prospector winner) and Weekend Hideaway.

The result continued the strong 2015 Gold-Jacks or Better record of having at least one horse in the exacta in a Gulfstream sprint stakes.

At Gulfstream this year, Grande Shores has a win, four second place finishes and two third place finishes in nine starts while C. Zee has a win, a second and a third in three starts.

“It’s too bad that we had to run into that,” Gold said of XY Jet in the Mr. Prospector.

But it wasn’t bad for exotic bettors who went with the speed of XY Jet and the Gold-Jacks or Better angle.

The final odds were 17-1 on Grande Shores and 6-1 on C. Zee. With 2-1 XY Jet on top, the $2 exacta paid $65.80 and the $2 trifecta paid $241.80.

What’s Ahead

Wildcat Red is among likely entrants in the Sunshine Millions Sprint and would be among the favorites, in the betting and among fans in general.

The Sunshine Million race would be Wildcat Red’s first since Sept. 28, when he finished fifth in the Vosburgh (Grade 1) at six furlongs at Belmont Park.

“He’s been looking good, and he’s back in training with our goal to bring him back at his home track in the Sunshine Millions,” said Jose Garoffalo, the trainer of Wildcat Red.

In 2014, Wildcat Red gained national as well as local prominence by winning the 1 1/16 mile Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and finishing second in the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby (Grade 1) at Gulfstream. For this year, Garoffalo cut Wildcat Red back to sprint distances.

Jose Garoffalo, trainer of Wildcat Red

Jose Garoffalo, trainer of Wildcat Red

Wildcat Red, who will be a 5-year-old in 2016, is owned by Honors Stable LLC. The husband-wife team of Salvatore Delfino and Josie Martino Delfino are the principals of Honors Stable. They have homes in Venezuela and in Florida.

Gelfenstein Farm is in Ocala and is owned by the family of Venezuelan native Ivan Rodriguez Gelfenstein.

Grande Shores, C. Zee and Stalwalkin’ Dude are all Florida-breds who might take another crack at XY Jet in the Sunshine Millions.

If XY Jet wins or even hits the board in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, there is a good chance that he will be invited to the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, to be run on March 26.

That race will be 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) on the tapeta artificial surface at the Meydan Racecourse as part of the annual Dubai World Cup.

No matter the results of the Sunshine Millions race, Navarro said he and Gelfenstein Farm will be cautious about whether to send XY Jet to Dubai.

He said Gelfenstein is doing research on how well U.S.-based horses have done in races in Dubai and how well they have done after returning home. The distance from Miami to Dubai is about 7,800 aerial miles and is a 16-hour flight each way.

Gulfstream: XY Jet Soars in Mr. Prospector, with Sunshine Millions Likely Next Stop

Monday, December 21, 2015

This Week at Florida's Tracks: Dec. 21 to Dec. 27

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs are changing their schedules this week in observance of Christmas which is Friday.

Neither track will have live racing on Christmas Eve, which is Thursday, or on Christmas Day.

Gulfstream usually has racing on both Thursdays and Fridays. Tampa Bay Downs is generally dark on Thursdays and has racing on Fridays.

Both tracks will have live racing this week on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Gulfstream’s first post is 12:05 p.m. on Sundays and 12:35 p.m. on other days. Tampa Bay’s first post is generally 12:28 (details below).

Tampa Bay will be open for poker and in-bound simulcasts on Thursday, and closed totally on Friday.

Gulfstream will be open for simulcasting on Thursday, but not on Friday.

The Gulfstream poker room and two casino rooms will be open frothier regular schedules on Thursday and Friday.

The simulcast menus will be smaller than usual on Thursday and Friday. Details will be available by calling either track or by going to their Web sites

Tampa Bay has no stakes races this week. Gulfstream has three stakes races on Saturday and one stakes on Sunday:

Saturday, Dec. 26:

* $100,000 Sugar Swirl (Grade 3) — six furlongs dirt, fillies and mares 3-years-old and up

* $100,000 W.L. McKnight (Grade 3) — 1 ½ miles turf, 3-year-olds and up

* $100,000 La Prevoyante (Grade 3) — 1 ½ miles turf, fillies & mares 3-years-old and up

Sunday, Dec. 27:

* $75,000 Windley — 5 furlongs turf, fillies and mares 3-years-old and up300x250-banner_Dec-21-15

Gulfstream Park

901 S. Federal Highway

Hallandale Beach, Fla. 33009

Phones — (954) 454-7000
Gulfstream Park Website

Gulfstream has racing on Wednesdays through Sundays during its winter meet that ends April 3.

First post is 12:05 p.m. on Saturdays and 12:35 p.m. on other race days.

In addition to live racing, Gulfstream has:

* Simulcast wagering — seven days a week with more than 30 thoroughbred and harness tracks; open for simulcasting from 11 a.m. until approximately 11 p.m.

* Casino — the two casino rooms are open from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays

* Poker — 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.P1050622

Tampa Bay Downs

11225 Race Track Road, Tampa, Florida 33626

Main Phone (813) 855-4401

Toll Free (In Florida) (866)-TBDOWNS (823-6967)
Tampa Bay Downs Website

Tampa Bay Downs will have four-day race weeks for most of its meet that will extend through next May 8. Race days will be Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

There are three exceptions. It will have racing on Thursday Feb. 18 and Thursday Feb. 25 and be dark on Easter Sunday, March 27.

Tampa Bay Downs is varying its first posts, with times between 12:22 p.m. and 12:28 p.m. It is doing that to help avoid having its first race start at the exact minute as the first race at one or more other East Coast tracks.

Because entries are out on numerous web sites at least two days prior to races, regular bettors have sufficient notice of Tampa Bay’s first race post time.

(Editor’s Note: Many bettors who bet multiple tracks would like to see more tracks take steps–coordinated if possible–to avoid having two races leave the gate just seconds apart.)

On days when it does not have live racing, Tampa Bay Downs is open for simulcasting and its poker room and golf range are open their regular hours.

*The Silks Poker Room hours of operation: Daily, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m.

The Downs Golf Practice Facility hours of operation:

Pro Shop: 8:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. daily (Last bucket sold at 7:45 p.m.)

Range: 8:30 a.m. – dusk daily

Short Game Area: 8:30 a.m. – dusk daily (lights out at 9:45 p.m.)

This Week at Florida's Tracks: Dec. 21 to Dec. 27

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rainbow 6 Starts With Win By 15-1 Shot

Bridal Fashion at 14-1 won Gulfstream's fifth race to kick off the Rainbow 6.

There is a pool of $35,486 added to the carryover of $13,489. 

The wind is picking up and rain could start falling soon.
-- Jim Freer

Fast and Firm at Gulfstream

Conditions are fast and firm at Gulfstream today with a brisk wind from the northeast and skies getting overcast.

We are on-site and will have news and developments during the afternoon, following a visit to the paddock.

The second race on the ten-race card is coming up. 
--Jim Freer

Longshot Wins First at Tampa Bay

Desert Summer, at 16-1, won the first race at Tampa Bay Downs this afternoon.

That topped a 5-1-7-2-6 Super Hi 5 that was hit for $8,720.60. A new pool will start on the second race.

Tampa Bay has a ten-race card. conditions are fast and firm.
--Jim Freer

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gulfstream Stakes Recap

Tammy the Torpedo closed out the gulfstream par card by winning Tropical Park Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies  

Other stakes winners at Gulfstream were Solemn Tribute in the Tropical Park Derby for 3-year-old males and XY Jet in the Mr. Prospector (Grade 3) on dirt for 3-year-olds and up.

We will have recaps on Sunday morning 

Gulfstream: Speechify Faces Stiff Challenge in Bid for Mr. Prospector repeat

By Jim Freer

Speechify won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (Grade 3) at Gulfstream Park last year, and Singanothersong won that race in 2013.

Both will be back this afternoon when Gulfstream runs the 2015 Mr. Prospector, at six furlongs on dirt for 3-year-olds and up.

But it is very unlikely that either of those horses will be favored today.

Stallwalkin’ Dude could be the public’s choice among the strong and apparently well-matched field of seven sprinters.

He won the seven-furlong Rapid Transit Stakes on Claiming Crown day at Gulfstream on Dec. 5.

The Mr. Prospector also has stakes wining stablemates C. Zee and Grande Shores from the powerful barn of trainer Stan Gold and owner Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm.

Trainer Stanley Gold
Trainer Stanley Gold

XY Jet came within ,38 of a second from a 15-year-old track record when he won a six furlong allowance on Nov.1 at Calder during the Gulfstream ParkWest meet.

Weekend Hideaway ran second to XY Jet in that race. On Nov.22 Weekend Hideaway was the fast winner of a five-furlong allowance on a sloppy track at Calder.

The Mr. Prospector, with a $100,000 purse, is one of three stakes races at Gulfstream on Saturday.

The $75,000 Tropical Park Derby is 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old males. The Tropical Park Oaks is 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies. They are the ninth and 11th races respectively.

We will be at Gulfstream this afternoon and will have coverage on our blog.

Gulfstream has 11 races with first post of 12:05 p.m.

The Mr. Prospector is the fourth race with scheduled post of 1:35 p.m. Here is a look at the field from post one outward with morning line odds in parentheses.

1. C. Zee (5-1) won the 6 1/2 furlong Gulfstream Sprint Championship (Grade 3) in March but is winless in five starts since then. However, he had a blowout four-furlong workout at Gulfstream on Dec. 12. Edgard Zayas has the mount.

2. Singanothersong (15-1) has one win since the 2013 Mr. Prospector and it was via disqualification in a turf sprint stakes this past August at Gulfstream. But he has had two recent bullet workouts at Calder. Gerardo Corrales will ride for trainer Ron Pellegrini.

3. Stallwalkin’ Dude (9-5) wheels back in just two weeks with Javier Castellano getting the return ride for trainer David Jacobson.

4. Grande Shores (6-1) won the 6 ½ furlong Parrot key at Gulfstream in June and has hit the board in three other Gulfstream stakes this year. Jeffrey Sanchez will ride.

5. XY Jet (7-2), who always seeks the lead, ran six furlongs in 1:09.33 in his recent win. The seldom-challenged Calder track record track record is 1:08.95. Forty One Carats set it on Oct. 7, 2000 in the Smile Sprint Handicap. Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount on XY Jet for trainer Jorge Navarro.

6. Speechify (8-1) is a lightly raced 5-year-old making just his fifth start this year. He has won four of seven starts at Gulfstream. Joel Rosario has the call for trainer Ralph Nicks, He could be a bargain if he is 8-1 or higher.

7. Weekend Hideaway (4-1) won the six-furlong Sunshine Millions Sprint in a fast time at Gulfstream this past January. Paco Lopez has the mount for trainer Phil Serpe.

What to expect: The question is which horse or horses will attempt to stay in close range to XY Jet in the early going. It might be Weekend Hideaway or even Speechify or Singanothersong.

Look for Stallwalkin’ Dude to come on and win followed by Grande Shores or Speechify.

Gulfstream: Speechify Faces Stiff Challenge in Bid for Mr. Prospector repeat