Gulfstream to Begin 2-YO Season on Wednesday

By Jim Freer

Gulfstream Park will have  its  first 2017 races for 2-year-olds this Wednesday  and Thursday.

Wednesday’s second race is a $50,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies at  4 ½  furlongs on dirt.

The seven-horse field has several horses with trainers and  owners who have traditionally been among leading winners of 2-year-old races in South Florida.

Thursday’s fifth race is a $50,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-old  males  at 4½  furlongs on dirt.

Gulfstream’s condition books show ten more 2-year-old  races  through May 14.

Gulfstream expects to have approximately  150 races for 2-year-olds during the six  months  of its  spring and  summer meets.

Two-year-olds have been a primary part of summer racing in South Florida since the 1970s. That racing was  at Calder  through 2013.

Calder stopped sponsoring race meets in 2014, as part of settling a race dates dispute with Gulfstream.

Gulfstream began summer racing in 2013. It picked up Calder’s  2-year-old program in 2014, and has been expanding it.

The Gulfstream spring/summer meet has ten stakes races for 2-year-olds.  The highlight will be the six races in the annual Florida Sire Stakes series. Details are below in this story.

(Note: Photo on home page is Three Rules winning the In Reality Stakes on Oct. 1. 2016 to complete a  sweep of the male  division of the FSS.   Photo is courtesy of Gulfstream Park.)

On Wednesday, Gulfstream’s first post is 12:55 p.m. for a nine-race card.

Scheduled post is 1:29 p.m. for the  second race, with juvenile  fillies.

Trainer Stan Gold has two entrants in the race, while trainer Wesley Ward and owner Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm each have one entrant.

All  three are well-known for their success with 2-year-olds in Florida and nationally. Ward has extended that success to England where he has won several stakes for 2-year-olds, as well as with older horses, at the Royal Ascot meets.

Wednesday’s Field (Morning Line Odds in Parentheses)

Ward’s entry on Wednesday is Kentucky-bred Lounge Act (5-2), owned by Brian Kahn.

Trainer Wesley Ward

Trainer Wesley Ward

Lounge Act, who on Saturday posted a bullet half-mile work of 35 4/5 seconds over the turf course at Palm Meadows Training Center, is by Creative Cause out of the multiple stakes-placed Gilded Time mare Hallelujah Trail. Carlos J. Hernandez,  a  seven-pound  apprentice, has  the mount.

Jacks or Better’s entrant is its homebred  Pantyhose (9-2) trained  by Ralph Nicks. The Florida-bred daughter of Awesome of Course is out of multiple-stakes winner Garter Belt. C.J. McMahon is the jockey,

Gold will send out Arindel Farm homebreds Minaj (7-2) and Baylor  (3-1).  Both are Florida-breds and both  were sired by Brethren, a full brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

The riders are  Jesus Rios  on Minaj and Edgard Zayas  on Baylor.

Trainer Javier Negrete has two entrants for owner Carlos Munoz.  They are Di Maria (8-1) and La Chica Ricool (8-1). Scheduled  riders  are  Manny Ramirez on Di Maria  and Eddie Dominguez on La Chica Ricool.

The seventh entrant is Go Astray (12-1), trained by Angel Rodriguez for Raniro Medina.  Miguel Vasquez has the mount.

Part of the interest in Wednesday’s race will be on the match-up of the two Gold-trained Arindel horses against Jacks or Better’s Pantyhose.

Trainer Stanley Gold

Trainer Stanley Gold

Gold trained exclusively for Jacks or Better for approximately ten years until April 2016.

They combined for a record 18 wins in the 2-year-old  divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes  (FSS). Those  races are restricted to Florida-breds that are progeny of Florida-registered sires whose owners have  nominated them for  the program,

The Gold-Jacks or  Better partnership ended after Gold  decided to add  horses from several other owners. Jack’s or Better then moved all of its horses, which race mostly in Florida, to trainer  Mark Casse.

This spring, Jacks or Better has moved some of its horses  to Nicks for racing in Florida. It also has moved some horses to Laurel Park in Maryland, where they are trained by Kenneth Decker.

Gold recently added Arindel to his list of clients.

Stakes Schedule

The FSS races are administered by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

The series has been a starting point for numerous Florida-breds that have gone on to national prominence.

Awesome Feather and Big Drama are among the  most notable.

Awesome Feather swept the FSS fillies division in 2010, racing for Jacks or Better  and Gold.  Later that year, she  won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs and was voted the winner of the Eclipse Award for juvenile fillies,

Big Drama swept the FSS male division in 2008.  As a 4-year-old in 2010, he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs and was voted the winner of the Eclipse  Award as champion  Male Sprinter.  Big Drama was trained by David Fawkes and owned by Harold Queen.

Gulfstream’s ten stakes races for 2-year-olds are: * July 1 — $100,000 Kiss A Native, colts and geldings, 5 ½ furlongs dirt

*July 1 — $100,000 Brave Raj, fillies, 5 1/2  furlongs dirt

* Aug. 5 —  Florida Sire Stakes:  $100,000 Dr. Fager, colts  and geldings, six furlongs dirt

*Aug. 5—Florida Sire Stakes: $100,000,  Desert Vixen, fillies, 6 furlongs dirt

*Sept. 2 – Florida Sire Stakes: $200,000 Affirmed, colts  and  geldings,  seven furlongs  dirt

*Sept. 2 – Florida Sire Stakes: $200.000 Susan’s Girl, fillies, seven furlongs dirt

*Sept. 30 – Florida Sire Stakes: $400,000 In Reality, colts  and geldings, 1 1/16 miles  dirt

*Sept. 30 – Florida Sire Stakes: $400,000 My  Dear Girl,  fillies, 1 1/16 miles  dirt

*Sept.  30 –$75,000 Armed  Forces, colts and geldings, one mile turf’

*Sept.  30 — $75,000 Our Dear Peggy, fillies, one mile turf