Saturday’s Millions Classic Preview
By Jim Freer
Last year’s winner Saraguaro and the speedy Mr. Jordan head the field for the feature race Saturday on Sunshine Millions Preview Day at the Gulfstream Park West meet.
That race is the $100,000 Millions Classic Preview at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds and up. It is the tenth race with scheduled post of 4:34 p.m. at Calder, the site of the GP West meet.
Mr. Jordan is coming off a 9 ¼-length victory in a one mile, 70-yard open allowance Oct.17 at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa.
It was his first win since the Pegasus (G3) in June 2015 during a span of 10 starts. Amid that winless streak of nine races (eight stakes), he had two second place finishes and five third place finishes.
“He’s training good,” said Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains Mr. Jordan. “His last race was a big effort. He’s coming off a decent summer campaign [in which] he was kind of compromised. He had a foot problem that wasn’t fully resolved until his last three starts.”
As a two-year-old in 2014, Mr. Jordan won the Juvenile Sprint Preview and Smooth Air at Calder. His regular rider Paco Lopez has the mount on Saturday.
There also is a horse-for-the-course angle with Saraguaro.
He is a son of Express Tour, who in 2000 swept the Florida Stallion Stakes series for two-year-olds
Saraguaro won last year’s Millions Classic Preview by 1 ¼ lengths over Nauset Beach, who is not in Saturday’s race.
Saraguaro ran that race in a fast-for-Calder time of 1:45.65. He earned a Brisnet speed figure of 103—the highest-ever among the eight horses in Saturday’s field.
Since then, Saraguaro has raced just four times, finishing third once and off-the-board in the other races.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has told us several times that Saraguaro has not been injured and that he has given the colt a series of breaks with the goal of having him in good form beginning with the GP West meet.
In his last race. Saraguaro finished third by 8 ¼ lengths to loose-on-the lead Piloting. That was at GP West on Oct. 16, in an allowance/optional claiming race at one mile on a sloppy dirt track.
Yourdreamsormine, second-place finisher on Oct. 16, is not in Saturday’s race.
Piloting is part of the field, and can be expected to battle Mr. Jordan for the early lead.
Luca Panici will ride Piloting for trainer Mark Casse.
Piloting, who has no stakes wins, is in post three. Mr. Jordan is in post five, giving him a likely advantage.
Saraguaro is in post two, and is among horses that likely will be coming from off the pace. Regular jockey Eddie Castro has the mount
Hy Riverside and J S Bach also will be stalking and have good chances to get into the exacta and trifecta.