Manhattan Dan, a colt who has earned recognition as one of the country’s top 3-year-old turf horses, heads the field for today’s $60,000 Fisher Island Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
The Fisher Island is the eighth race with scheduled post of 4:46 p.m. It is five furlongs on turf for 3-year-olds.
Trainer Gary Contessa is using the Fisher Island as a prep for Manhattan Dan for a possible run at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England.
The target is the Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) on June 18. The race has a purse of approximately $588,000 (400,000 pounds sterling) for 3-year-olds going six furlongs over a straight turf course.
First post is 12:55 p.m. for today’s nine-race card at Gulfstream, with six races scheduled for turf. Conditions are listed as fast and firm. The Weather Channel forecast has a zero percent chance of rain for the area in and around Hallandale Beach, where Gulfstream is located.
Manhattan Dan is the 3-5 morning line favorite in the Fisher Island, and will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo.
The field is down to six horses following the morning scratch of Seaside Schiller, who might have been the second betting choice.
The Ralph Nicks-trained Final Encore and the Larry Pilotti-trained Kokomo Wildcat now loom as the top challengers.
Contessa trains Manhattan Dan for the partnership of Platinum Seven LLC, Dan Guarino, Runner Runner Investments LLC and Julia Boutelle.
The son of Big Brown opened his 3-year-old season with a wire-to-wire win in the $75,000 Texas Glitter Stakes at five furlongs on turf at Gulfstream on Feb. 27.
“He’s doing very, very good,” Contessa said. “I’m thrilled at his works and the way he’s come back. The whole thing in this business is keeping these guys sound and happy. He’s coming into this race absolutely perfect.”
Manhattan Dan broke his maiden on the turf at Saratoga last summer and went on to run third going a mile at Woodbine on September 12. A month later, the speedy Kentucky-bred colt finished third on the dirt in the Futurity Stakes (Grade 2) at Belmont.
Manhattan Dan then gave his connections a thrill at Keeneland when he led much of the running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1) before finishing seventh.
He ended his season at Del Mar, finishing 12th and last at Del Mar in the one-mile Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (Grade 3) on turf.
Manhattan Dan’s connections then decided to run him solely in sprints in 2016.
*There is a carryover today of $316,085 in the Rainbow 6. It starts on the fourth race and is a 20-cent only per combination bet.