TODAY’S NEWS (Monday) ESKENDEREYA (a dance) waltzes to big win and is a Kentucky Derby fave. (www.horse-races.net photo)
PLETCHER IN DRIVER’S SEAT AGAIN
And Eskendereya is a 106 Beyer monster
His name is a type of middle eastern dance and that is exactly what ESKENDEREYA did in the Fountain of Yourh Stakes Saturday, one of the most prestigious stepping stone events on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
The solidly built chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway – Aldebaran Light by Seattle Slew destroyed the field –
little tiny Jackson Bend was pestering him all the way around the last turn but could not stay – and earned a
huge 1o6 Beyer Figure in only his 5th career race.
Trainer TODD PLETCHER, who has never won the Kentucky Derby but has often had a litany of contenders won the 3 big sophomore races yesterday with ESKENDEREYA for Zayat Stables, DISCREETLY MINE won the Risen star Stakes at Fair Grounds for E. Paul Robsham and CONNEMARA (also by Giant’s Causeway) won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate for Michael tabor and Derrick Smith.
Connemara earned an 83 Beyer Figure.
Pletcher also trains RULE, who won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last weekend.
DISCREETLY MINE led all the way through slow fractions to win the Risen Star with a 96 Beyer Figure. The handsome Mineshaft fellow had his ears pricked most of the way as he sauntered along and then held off the closers.
Canadian-bred HOTEP, who hasad an allowance win coming in (but in slow time) ran his usual Beyer Figure, a 76, and was well back at the finish.
At Oaklawn Park, the 1 mile Southwest Stakes, another early Derby prep, went to speedy CONVEYANCE (Indian Charlie) who is now 4 for 4 in his career for Zabeel Racing and trainer Bob Baffert.
He ran a 97 Beyer Figure.
But ESKENDEREYA is far ahead of his peers right now – his only awful race was on the Santa Anita artificial
dirt stuff in the Breeders’ Cup.
BY JIM FREER
Miami Herald Writer
Eskendereya staked a claim as one of the leaders on the Kentucky Derby trail — even in his trainer Todd
Pletcher’s barn — by running away with Saturday’s $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Eskendereya won the 1 1/8 mile, Grade 2 stakes by 8 ½ lengths over Jackson Bend and appeared ready to run longer as he reached the wire in 1:48.87.
“The Florida Derby would seem logical” for Eskendereya’s next race, Pletcher said in the winner’s circle.
The $750,000 Florida Derby (Grade 1) will be at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream on March 20.
“But we will consider all the options,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher is juggling options because he needs to keep his 3-year-old stars apart en route to possible starts in the Kentucky Derby on May 1.
DISCREETLY MINE went gate to wire on the lead and won the RISEN STAR STAKES (photo at left by Cindy Pierson Dulay).
Much hyped HOTEP was flat in the Risen Star for Sam-Soin Farms and ran a 76 Beyer Figure and was beaten 10 lengths.
Cindy Pierson Dulay photo
RAHY’S ATTORNEY OUT-SIZZLED
Champion Rahy’s Attorney simply could not keep up to a 1 mile grass race in 1:31 and change Saturday at
Gulfstream when he was last of nine, beaten about 6 plus lengths in the Canadian Turf Handicap.
The son of Crown Attorney ran an 89 Beyer Figure according to DRF.
On Saturday at Fair Grounds, Eugene Melnyk’s Kentucky bred PORTER’S GATE scored an upset at 12 to 1 in an allowance race at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf under Woodbine jockey Patrick Husbands.
The son of Victory Gallop is trained by Ontario trainer Malcolm Pierce. It was the gelding’s 2nd career start
on the grass.
Sam-Son Farms’ first time starter COGNASHENE had a pleasing debut in a 2 turn grass maiden race at Fair Grounds on Sunday when 3rd with a 74 Beyer Figure. The homebred, trained by Malcolm Pierce, is by Dynaformer out of champion Catch the Ring.
At Gulfstream on Saturday, Canadian owner/breeder RICHARD LISTER claimed the class mare ABSOLOUTE HEAVEN for $50,000 with peter Walder listed as trainer. The mare, bred by David Cassidy, is 7 for 22 in her career and won at Woodbine last April.
Adena Springs’bred BOURBON BAY, a Kentucky bred by the Ontario sire SLIGO BAY, won the important SAN LUIS OBISPO Handicap at Santa Anita yesterday, a 1 1/2 mile turf event, Grade II. The new 4yo gelding was winning for just the 3rd time in 11 races and he’s trained by Neil Drysdale.
WELCOME! Here is a Legal Jousting – Shubiz, Shuillaan filly born on Valentine’s Day Feb. 14 for Cedarcrest Farm.
Thanks to Kingsgate Farm for the photo.
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