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Feb 01, 2013

Evenly matched field entered for Hutcheson


Hallandale Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Ten 3-year-olds have been entered for Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park led by 3-1 morning line favorite Merit Man.

The seven-furlong Hutcheson will be Merit Man's first race beyond six-furlongs and pairs the colt with jockey Paco Lopez for the first time. The favorite will start from post 5 for trainer Robert Hess Jr. for owners Bruce Chandler, Robert McKee and James Glavin.

Merit Man made his 2013 debut a winning one with a three-quarter length win in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream.

"I was very happy with his race in the Spectacular Bid. He was hooked on the lead and was very game to go on from there," said Hess. "I think he will have to improve from there to the competition he will likely face in the Hutcheson. I'm not really worried about the seven-furlongs. I think anything up to a one- turn mile is well within his range."

Merit Man was second as the 1-2 favorite in November's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, losing by a nose to Hightail. The 3-year-old won the Tim Conway Stakes at San Anita on Oct. 6 after breaking his maiden as a 20-1 longshot at Del Mar. He comes into the Hutcheson with earnings of $292,000.

The 4-1 second choice is Forty Tales, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Perretti Racing Stable. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount and will leave from the inside post.

Forty Tales has won both starts, including his debut with Velazquez aboard on Nov. 24 at Aqueduct. The colt followed that 2 3/4-length win with a 3 3/4- length triumph at Parx Racing on Jan. 5 with John Bisono riding.

Pletcher won last year's Hutcheson with Thunder Moccasin and claimed the stakes five straight times from 2003-07.

Right next to Forty Tales in the starting gate will be 5-1 third pick Falling Sky. The colt, owned by James Covello and Newtown Anner Stud, will be ridden by Luis Saez.

Falling Sky is trained by John Terranova and comes into the race with two wins in three starts, including a fourth in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 1.

"We've had him up here at Palm Meadows for a couple of weeks and he's doing well. He's talented and ran in some key races," said Terranova,

From the rail out here is the field for the Hutcheson: Forty Tales, John Velazquez, 4-1; Falling Sky, Luis Saez, 5-1; Weekend Hideaway, Joe Bravo, 6-1; Little Distorted, Jesus Castanon, 10-1; Merit Man, Paco Lopez, 3-1; Singanothersong, Jozbin Santana, 8-1; Undrafted, Angel Serpa, 12-1; Honorable Dillon, Joe Rocco Jr., 8-1; Pataky Kid, Corey Lanerie, 12-1 and Really Sharp, Elvis Trujillo, 12-1.

Post-time for the Hutcheson is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. (ET).

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