Glencrest Farm’s Sighted and Team Valor International’s High Hours figure to give trainer Ralph Nicks a strong hand in Sunday’s $75,000 Jupiter Beach at Gulfstream Park.
Sighted is scheduled to make his turf debut in the five-furlong stakes, while High Hours will be in search of his first victory in the U.S.
Sighted, a lightly raced 3-year-old who will concede experience to seven older rivals (not counting main-track entrant Sweetontheladies), enters the Jupiter Beach with a most-promising three-race resume. The sophomore son of Gone Astray debuted April 21 at Gulfstream in a six-furlong sprint in which he drew off to win by 3 ½ lengths after dueling into the stretch. The Florida-bred colt came right back to prevail again June 2 after being pressured through a 6 ½-furlong state-bred optional claiming allowance.
“He had always showed a lot of class,” Nicks said. “He’s a smart horse.”
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Sighted made his stakes debut on the June 30 Summit of Speed program, finishing third in the seven-furlong Carry Back after becoming involved in a heated early pace.
“He ran good. We chased the favorite (War Giant) the whole way. Seven-eighths is probably a little far for him, but he ran good with a step up in company,” Nicks said.
Turf shouldn’t be a daunting challenge for Sighted, who is out of a turf-winning daughter of Icy Warning, a multiple-stakes winner on turf with more than $500,000 in earnings.
“He’s a fast horse. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try him at five-eighths on the grass,” said Nicks, who awarded the mount to Jonathan Gonzalez.
High Hours, a multiple graded-stakes winner in Brazil who has raced four times in the U.S., debuted with a second-place finish at Arlington Park before finishing sixth at Saratoga for trainer Wesley Ward last year. High Hours was subsequently transferred to Nicks’ string at Gulfstream Park, where he finished fourth in a May 3 optional claiming allowance and third in the June 30 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint.
“He’s solid. I think he’ll really come running with this group,” Nicks said.
Miguel Vasquez has the mount aboard the 7-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Put It Back.
Vicente Stella Stables’ Diddley looms as a strong contender in the Jupiter Beach, looking to a second-place finish behind track record-holder Pay Any Price in Umphrey, in which he checked in 1 ½ lengths ahead of High Hours. The Oscar Gonzalez-trained 4-year-old gelding, who finished second in an off-the-turf sprint last time out, will be ridden by Emisael Jaramillo.
Averill Racing and CCF Racing Stable’s Starship Wildcat, a hard-knocking 9-year-old gelding who has finished first or second in 25 of 49 career starts, enters the Jupiter Beach off a front-running optional claiming allowance July 5. Edgard Zayas has the mount.
Moonwalker, Little Chesney, Go Gone Gone and Apache Brave round out the field entered to run on turf.
Weekend Mischief is slated to seek her third straight victory in the mile stakes for fillies and mare that haven’t won a sweepstakes. The Stanley Gold-trained 3-year-old filly, who has won going away in back-to-back one-turn mile races, will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.
Spanish Harlem, who finished off the board in the Princess Rooney (G2) last time out; My Cousin Martha, a stakes-placed 4-year-old who came up just short of victory at seven furlongs last time out; and Oola Gal, who stretches out to a mile after registering wo-off-the pace sprint victories from her last three starts; are also entered to seek their first stakes victories.
Leading rider Tyler Gaffalione won’t be a force at Gulfstream Park over the weekend. The 23-year-old rising star started a three-day riding venture at Del Mar Friday. He had two mounts at the San Diego area track Friday and is scheduled to ride eight horses there Saturday, as well as riding three races Sunday.