Feb 09, 2007
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
On Saturday February 3rd at Gulfstream we saw young horses, older horses and top grass horses competing on one card to make for a very interesting day of racing and they didn’t disappoint.
There were six stakes races that were run on February 3rd at Gulfstream and all six races were graded races. The first stakes race of the day was the Deputy Minister Stakes, a Grade III, for four year olds and upward at 6 ½ furlongs and saw the return of KEYED ENTRY who ran in the Kentucky Derby. He was sent off at 9-5 and didn’t disappoint scoring easily in wire to wire fashion, scoring by five lengths over the favorite, SIR GREELEY. This speedy 4yo from the Pletcher barn can be a force this year at distances up to a mile and should be followed throughout the year.
Two races later, the Swale Stakes, a Grade II for three year olds run at the 6 ½ furlong distance. The favorite in the race, another from the Pletcher barn was COWTOWN CAT but he could do no better than third. The winner of the race was ADORE THE GOLD who went wire to wire and ran his record to four wins from five starts. This improving 3yo by FORMAL GOLD may prove one to reckon with further improvement.
The next race was the Grade III Canadian Turf Handicap run at 1 and 1/16th miles and saw the return of Breeders’ Cup Mile hero MIESQUE’S APPROVAL. GIANT WRECKER, a 16-1 was sent right to the lead, took pressure every step of the way and held on by a nose at the wire over the fast closing HOST. JAMBALAYA finished third ¾’s of a length behind the winner with the odds-on favorite MIESQUE’S APPROVAL checking in fifth. He probably needed the race but he is another year older and may not be as sharp as he was last year but that is yet to be seen.
The next race was the Grade III Holy Bull stakes for three year olds as they make their first step towards the Kentucky Derby. The winner of the race was NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ who was making his first start of the year but he may well be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby after this performance. He showed last year from just a few races that he was extremely talented but he easily dispatched of this field which included the only horse to beat him, SCAT DADDY. The time of the mile race was a solid 1:35:2 and should have him on track for his next step. SCAT DADDY showed some speed but tired to finish third, he may be best at distances up to a mile but that still remains to be seen.
The Suwannee River Stakes a Grade III for fillies and mares four year olds an upward on the turf at 1 and 1/8th miles. The even money favorite NAISSANCE ROYALE, who has failed as the odds-on choice the last few outs closed strongly to get the job done over the second choice J’ RAY. Maybe she can get on a roll with that win under her belt.
The big race of the day was the Grade I Donn Handicap for four year olds and upward at 1 and 1/8th miles and saw the 2007 debut of 2006 Horse of the Year INVASOR. After finding traffic trouble on the turn and having to be steadied for a bit he recovered and came with a strong run up the rail to score going away as much the best by two lengths. His connections said he came out of the race fine and should be set for a top effort when he travels to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup on March 31st in what should be a match-up with undefeated DISCREET CAT.
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