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Jan 05, 2012

Casual Trick offers encouraging runner-up effort


Hallandale Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Sunday's $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby put new names on the Kentucky Derby futures list for this year. The 1 1/16-mile race was the first stakes event of the year for Run for the Roses hopefuls.

Reveron won the race under jockey Fernando Jara after pressing the pace set by Nachas and Joy. Finishing second was Casual Trick who raced third most of the way for trainer Nick Zito.

"He ran very hard but he was fighting me a little bit to pass that horse in the stretch. The winner was more experienced than mine and my horse was still a little green today. He just broke his maiden and was going two turns for the first time," said jockey John Velazquez of Casual Trick's runner-up finish. "I think he's still learning. He actually handled the two turns really well. If he continues to mature and get better, I think he's going to be very good."

The inaugural Gulfstream Park Derby was Casual Trick's third career start. He was fifth at Saratoga back in August and came back two months later to win at Churchill Downs.

"The Gulfstream Park Derby is a two turn race, a mile and a sixteenth. I thought right off the bat to see how good he is. I think he's really, really good," Zito said prior to the running of the race. "Hopefully, his pedigree jumps up. I know it's quick. I'm asking him to do something unusual, but sometimes we do that. These are the horses that take us to the promised land, not us. Hopefully, he can do it."

Casual Trick, a son of 2006 Preakness champ Bernardini, is owned by Robert LaPenta who also owns 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In. The four-year-old is back in training at Palm Meadows under the guidance of Zito.

Dialed In, who underwent knee surgery last year, worked three-furlongs Monday morning. The colt was timed in 35 seconds as he prepares for this year's racing season.

Dialed In won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park last winter along with the Florida Derby. Sent off as the 5-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby, the colt finished eighth after running last in the 19-horse field. He followed with a fourth-place finish in the Preakness.

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