3yo’s Take Center Stage at Gulfstream
Godolphin Racing’s graded-stakes winners and top 3-year-old prospects Enticed and Avery Island are poised to begin serious preparations for their expected sophomore debuts next month, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
Both colts are based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, where they have each breezed once since arriving in South Florida. Enticed went three furlongs in 37.45 seconds and Avery Island a half-mile in 48.80 seconds on Dec. 24.
The $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 3 is the first graded-stakes of Gulfstream’s series for 3-year-olds, which continues with the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 3, leading up to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 31. Also on Feb. 3 is the 1 1/8-mile Withers (G2) at Aqueduct.
“They’re going to start working weekly again and both will hopefully work Thursday or Friday for the next three weeks,” McLaughlin said. “They’re both pointing to February 3rd, we hope with one here and one in New York to split them up. We’ll also nominate and be eligible to everything to go wherever we might need to go.”
Enticed, by multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia d’Oro, captured his Sept. 4 debut at Saratoga and was third behind Firenze Fire and subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Good Magic in the Champagne (G1) Oct. 7. He bounced back with a gutsy head victory over similarly well-regarded Tiz Mischief in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) Nov. 25.
A son of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense, Avery Island broke his maiden second time out and followed up with a dominating 4 ¾-length triumph in the Nashua (G2) Nov. 5 at Aqueduct. He was second as the favorite to Catholic Boy in the Remsen (G2) Dec. 2.
“They’re doing very well, no changes,” McLaughlin said. “We’re not looking for any changes. They’re both big boys, so we don’t need them to grow or anything or do anything different. They’re both there, both nice colts who behave well and do everything right. We’re just looking to keep going.”
Bal Harbour Seeks 3rd Straight Stakes Win in Mucho Macho Man
Red Oak Stable’s Bal Harbour is slated to seek his third straight stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park.
The Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-old colt captured the Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream Park Dec. 9, following up a triumph in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth three months earlier.
“It was a big performance. He closed well off the layoff and he’s trained well since then,” Pletcher said. “I feel good about the way he’s coming into it.”
Like the Smooth Air, the mile Mucho Macho Man will be run around one turn. His win in the mile Sapling came around two turns. In each instance, the son of First Samurai rated off the pace before closing tenaciously in the stretch.
“I think we’ll probably try him around two turns again. He was able to win the Sapling around two turns,” Pletcher said. “He’s been effective around one and two turns. He’s a pretty game, hard-trying horse.”
Bal Harbor broke his maiden at Gulfstream in June before venturing to Saratoga, where he finished fifth in the six-furlong Sanford (G3) and fourth in the Saratoga Special (G3).
“I thought he ran well but I thought he wanted more distance, that’s why we’re happy to get him stretched out,” said Pletcher, whose trainee went on to win the Sapling and Smooth Air.
Pletcher is also slated to saddle Coltandmississippi, who finished fifth in the Smooth Air after experiencing a rocky start.
“He drew the ‘1’ hole last time and I think that compromised his chances. I don’t think he got the position he wanted,” Pletcher said. “He was a little green. We’re adding blinkers for this, and that should make the difference.”
John Velazquez is slated to ride Bal Harbour, while Luis Saez has the assignment on Teresa Viola Racing Stables and St. Elias Stable’s Coltandmississippi.
Cicatrix Looking to Sparkle in Saturday’s Glitter Woman
Bill Witman’s Cicatrix is set to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $75,000 Glitter Woman at Gulfstream Park after sparkling in her racing debut at Churchill Downs Nov. 16.
“Her first race was a real impressive race. I was actually looking for an allowance to go in and ended up in this spot,” trainer Ian Wilkes said. “She’s ready to go. The filly’s doing good and I’m happy with her.”
Debuting for a trainer who has built a reputation for being patient with his young horses, Cicatrix took the lead shortly after the start of her six-furlong debut and drew off to score by 7 ½ lengths under Julien Leparoux.
“I expected her to run good but she ran even bigger than what we thought. We’ve always liked her. She’s looked good on the track and worked good on the track,” Wilkes said. “She drew bad that day, right on the inside. You just don’t know what to expect from a first-timer. They went in 23 (seconds) that day, and they’re going to go faster here. We’ll see how it plays out. I’ll leave it up to Julien.”
The six-furlong Glitter Woman drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, including Elevenses, a 10 ¼-length debut winner at Aqueduct Nov. 22, and Others Will Follow, a 10 ½-length debut winner at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 25,
Secure Investments’ Empire Power seeks to step out of the shadow of stablemate Santiamen in Saturday’s, $75,000 Limehouse, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, at Gulfstream Park. The Antonio Sano-trained 3-year-old colt set the pace before yielding grudgingly to Santiamen, coming up a half-length short in the Dec. 21 six-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream.
Santiamen, undefeated in two starts, is scheduled to run in Saturday’s one-mile Mucho Macho Man.
“Empire Power ran a big race and is training very good,” Sano said. “For him, he will stay at six furlongs.”
The son of Bodemeister is scheduled to face five rivals in the Limehouse.