Wicked Strong, first fended off Legend, as they vied for the early lead, then edged away from GI Belmont winner Tonalist, in the stretch for a 2 1/4 lengths victory in today’s $600,000, GII Jim Dandy Stakes, for 3yo’s, at 1 1/8 mile over a “fast” Saratoga main track!
Well, here we go again race fans, as the 2014 road to Louisville takes its first modest small step here on Jan. 1, (oh and happy birthday to all the 2yo’s who just turned 3yo on this first day of the New Year), as Gulfstream Park rolls out the $100,000, Gulfstream Park Derby, for newly minted 3yo’s, at just a mile, over the Gulfstream main track this Wednesday afternoon!
We’ve got “9” fresh-faced 3yo’s coming out here for this first stretch of the legs for these 2014 Kentucky Derby want-to-be’s!
Best Plan Yet , at 5/2 is the slight m/l favorite and is a double stakes winner over at Calder this season winning both the Foolish Pleasures Stakes and the $300k FSN Reality Stakes at 1 1/16 mile winning that tussle by 5 plus lengths. This son of Hear No Evil is 6-3-2-0 lifetime and does appear to be a very good stalking type runner. Cuts back to the mile distance which can only help him in here!
Aarons Orient , at 3/1, is a Todd Pletcher trained 3yo and as anyone at Gulfstream can tell you Todd Pletcher trained 3yo’s here at any Gulfstrem winter meet are usually live runners. This son of Orienate won the Kip Deville Stakes at Remington Park 2 back covering 6f’s on a snappy 1:09.3 all the way on a front end score. He had a truly poor start last out in thr JF Lewis Stakes up at Laurel where he stumbled coming out of the gate and was bumped around pretty good, as well. He never made the early lead in that race so he finished a very poor 10th there that day. He must ready for his 2-turn debut or super Todd wouldn’t be bringing out here on Wednesday!
Wildcat Red , at 5/1, is the 3rd chose here, as this son of D’ wildcat won the Gulfstream Juvenile Sprint here last out at 6 1/2 f’s clocking a reasonble 1:17.4 but was then Dq’d and placed 2nd for boring out in the stretch. Tried 2yo’s do funny things in the stretch so him stretching out to the 2 turn mile does offer us some pause even though he is techically undefeated in 3 lifetime starts.
General a Rod , at 6/1, is Mike Maker trained, sired by Roman Ruler offers just a 2 race resume winning a Mdn over the Keeneland poly, then coming a decent 2nd in a Churchill $75k Alw last out, that went a mile in 1:35.1 as he was just a little more than a length off that winner! Solid connections here with experience at the distance make this one quite use able in our exotic’s thinking!
Pablo Del Monte , also at 6/1, is a Wesley Ward pupil out of Giant’s Causeway finished 5th in the GIII Generous Stakes at BHP last out where he vied early but faded at the end of that 1-mile turfer. He does have the obligatory Mdn and Alw wins though on his resume but tries the dirt here on Wednesday for the first time!
East Hall , at 10/1, is a son of Graeme Hall with a long South Florida resume and has raced at a mile or more 5 times in a row now. He just a maiden winner however but last out was placed first in a dq of $45k 1x alw tussle here at Gulfstream so in effect he does have 2 lifetime wins. Solid pedigree here and tons of experience at the distance makes this one a solid super thought at least!
HOF jockey Mike Smith rolledCustomer Base, up late on the outside in deep stretch, to nip Stormy Lucy, by a nose to take down today’s $100,000, GIII Robert J. Frankel Stakes, for 3yo and up F/M turfers, at 1 1/8 mile over a firm Santa Anita Turf course.
It seems only fitting that the final graded stakes race of 2013 is in memory of one of the greatest trainer this sport has ever seen in the $100,000, GIII Robert J. Frankel Stakes, for 3yo and up F/M turfers, going 1 1/18 mile over the Santa Anita turf this Sunday!
Customer Base, gets the nod as the 3/1 m/l favorite here as he was good 3rd last out in the GII Goldikova Stakes here back on Nov 3rd with a mild late charge to get up for a piece of the board! She also finished 2nd in the $70k springtime Stakes just a half length off the winner here 2 back as both races were at the mile distance! She has got solid graded stakes experience but lacks any recent graded wins!
Appealing, gave Egg drop all she could handle 2 back in the GII Yellow Ribbon coming up 2nd best by just a head that day. She came an off 5th last out in that same GII Goldikova as he falter after stalking the early pace.
Gulsary and Moone’s My Name are euro imports with only limited Alw outings on their US resumes as both own only 1 alw win, so far!
Stormy Lucy, at 9/2, is worth a long exotics look here as 2 back she won the $50k Ms. America Stakes up at GG. In 2012 she was 4th in the GII Honeymoon Hcp and the GI Rodeo Drive Hcp and was a solid 2nd in the GI Del Mar Oaks too! So this one is bringing tons of graded experience to this 2-turn turf tilt!
Becky Lou, at 8/1, won a $56k alw at BHP last out and does offer graded experience on her resume too! A GIII is right on target for her now so maybe a home in a super play might be in order here!
Champagneandcaviar , at 10/1, made a name for herself up at Emerald Downs before coming to sunny southern california where 2 back she won a 1 1/8 mile alw turfer here in a crisp 1:46.4 but could only manage a distant 4th last out in the GII Bayakoa Hcp at BHP after chasing the early pace to no avail! Any type of repeat performance of her 2 back win here could add some real pop to your super play!
So, “9” 2-turn turfing ladies will grace this GIII Robert J. Frankel Stakes stage here on Sunday as the 2013 graded season draws to a close!