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.
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.
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.
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