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Mar 04, 2011

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            Gulfstream Park played the role of host to two prep races last week on February 26th. The Hutcheson Stakes, a Grade II for three year olds was run over seven furlongs and carried a purse of $150,000. The Fountain of Youth was also run on the 26th, also for three year olds, run over 1 and 1/8th miles and carried a purse of $400,000.

            In the Hutcheson nine horses went postward with TRAVELIN MAN going off as the 3-5 favorite off a huge maiden win. MADMAN DIARIES coming off a fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was second choice at 5-1. FLASHPOINT was sent off as the third choice at 6.9-1 also coming off a huge maiden win. As they broke from the gate last out, TRAVELIN MAN came out running and set some solid splits while under pressure from FLASHPOINT to his outside. After fractions of 22, 44:2, 1:08:4, FLASHPOINT took over the lead from TRAVELIN MAN and drew away smartly through the lane to score by more than seven lengths in a sharp time of 1:22 flat. TRAVELIN MAN held on well for second by three lengths over longshot LITTLE DRAMA who was the longest shot in the race at 50-1. Even though FLASHPOINT is bred to be a sprinter by POMEROY out of TWO PUNCH mare his trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. is thinking about running him in the Florida Derby on April 3rd at Gulfstream. Dutrow felt the way he drew away through the lane and finished up that he would stretchout and he will find out in the Florida Derby if all goes according to plan.

            In the Fountain Of Youth there was a field of eight that went postward with surprisingly SOLDAT going off as the slight favorite at 7-5 over close second choice, TO HONOR AND SERVE who was making just his first start since November at Aqueduct. As the gates opened SOLDAT used his rail post to his advantage to go right to the lead while under some pressure from longshot EL GRAYLING while TO HONOR AND SERVE stalked those runners from third. Moving into the far turn after some moderate splits that went in 24:1. 47:4, 1:12:2, TO HONOR AND SERVE made a move towards the leader but couldn’t get by and began to tire, GOURMET DINNER, with Ramon Dominguez up angled out and came running at SOLDAT but to no avail as SOLDAT was strong to the wire. GOURMET DINNER held second easily by almost five lengths with TO HONOR AND SERVE holding on to third. SOLDAT is also headed to the Florida Derby off that effort which should make for an exciting race and should help clear up the Derby photo at least with the horses coming from Florida.

            Jean-Luc Samyn, a long time rider on the New York circuit will be sidelined about a month after cutting two fingers off and breaking another in a snowblower accident. Samyn, 54, was unclogging his snowblower on Monday, February 21, with the power of the machine turned off, when the blade moved forward and cut off two-thirds of the index and middle fingers on his right hand. He also fractured the ring finger on his right hand in the incident. “You have to look on the bright side,” said Samyn, who hopes to return to riding in either late March or early April. “I am fortunate that this didn’t end up being worse.” The full article is on the NYRA website at

            On Thursday March 3rd Aqueduct was forced to cancel live racing, in addition to their simulcasting. No, there wasn’t a blizzard, the wind wasn’t  the culprit, somehow, due to the construction going on because of the casino someone severed a cable that made it impossible for NYRA to take wagers or broadcast its races. According to NYRA officials, a major electronic cable that leads from nearby Rockaway Blvd. to Aqueduct was accidentally severed by a crew working on the Aqueduct casino, which is slated to open in late summer with 4,500 slot machines. The severed cable caused Aqueduct to lose all communications with its tote company, made the television cameras inoperable, and cut out Internet service in the building. As of Friday morning there has still not been a decision on whether or not they will race today although that was the plan. Hopefully this can be taken care of and racing can go on as normal, especially because of the big day Aqueduct has in store for Saturday with four stakes races including the Grade III Gotham Stakes, a big race on the Road to the Derby in New York.

            See you next week with a recap of the Gotham Stakes.

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