UPDATED THURS. DEC. 15…
NEOLITHIC, a son of Harlan’s Holiday from a Victory Gallop mare, Swingit, led all the way through 1 1.16 miles at GUlfstream Park on Wednesday and won by 9 lengths. The 3-year-old may have earned a trip to the $12 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan.28. His time of 1:41.58 was good for a career best 104 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form.
Owned by Starlight Racing and trained by Todd Pletcher, Neolithic was a $460,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling purchase. He is 2 for 7 in his career.
The mare has had 4 foals to race, 3 winners and Swingit was a stakes winner of $345,000 and is a half sister to Canadian broodmare Singit, dam of Woodbine winner Imperatore.
Canadian bred BREAKING LUCKY is pointing to the Pegasus World Cup – read more below..
STAKES RACE BONANZA AT GULFSTREAM ON SATURDAY
Canadian bred star Heart to Heart in action
Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart was among eighth horses entered Wednesday for a start in Saturday’s $100,000 El Prado at Gulfstream Park, where the son of English Channel captured back-to-back graded stakes last winter.
The Brian Lynch-trained 5-year-old registered front-running triumphs in both the Fort Lauderdale (G2) and the Canadian Turf (G3) over the Gulfstream turf course.
Heart to Heart followed up his Gulfstream wins with a second-place finish behind Miss Temple City in the Maker’s Mark 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland and a fourth-place finish in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita. The Ontario-bred turf runner returned to winning form in the Knickerbocker (G3) at Belmont Oct. 10 before finishing fourth in the Artie Schiller at Aqueduct last time out.
“He’s a very capable type of horse who seems to like Gulfstream,” Lynch said. “He’s coming into the race in good order. We hope he brings one of his ‘A Game’ performances for the race.”
Also on Saturday is the Harlan’s Holiday Stake (G3) and Keen Ice, the only horse to beat American Pharoah during the Triple Crown champion’s historic 2015 Horse of the Year campaign, is scheduled to prep for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) in the $100,000 race.
Donegal Racing’s 4-year-old colt, who pulled off a 16-1 upset win over American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes (G1), is slated to be joined by Todd Pletcher-trained stablemates Stanford and Madefromlucky in the newly graded 1 1/16-mile race, one of three graded stakes on an 11-race program that will offer five stakes.
Keen Ice, who ran down American Pharoah in the stretch to beat American Pharoah by three-quarters of a length in the 1 ¼-mile Travers, is set to make his first start since finishing a distant third behind Arrogate and California Chrome in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 5.
“He seems to be in sharp form. The mile and a sixteenth doesn’t seem like his ideal distance, but we want to get him something between now and the Pegasus,” Pletcher said. “We feel sharpening him up is better than waiting to run him on January 28.”
The son of Curlin has gone winless in seven starts since his Saratoga stunner in August 2015. Formerly trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice was transferred to Pletcher’s stable following his eighth-place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup last March.
Keen Ice tuned up for the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic with a third-place finish in a one-turn mile allowance at Belmont Park Oct. 7 while making his first start for Pletcher off a six-month layoff. In the Classic, the Kentucky-bred colt was bumped at the start, saved ground while racing off the pace and closed between horses in the stretch to get up for third money, more than 11 lengths behind victorious Arrogate.
“I thought he ran well. I think he was one race shy of giving his very best. He just had the one-mile prep race. Considering that, I thought he ran very well,” Pletcher said. “California Chrome and Arrogate were just too good on the day, but I was proud of him finishing third.”
Javier Castellano has the return mount aboard Keen Ice.
Canadian-owned Madefromlucky (co-owned by Mac Nichol), who hasn’t raced since finishing second in the Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct last April, finished second in last year’s Harlan’s Holiday, beaten three quarters of a length by multiple-graded stakes winner Valid.
Luis Saez has the mount aboard Madefromlucky, a multiple Grade 2 winner who has won two of four starts at Gulfstream Park.
WINNERS – EMPYREA, an Ontario bred 3-year-old by U S Ranger – How Far Is Heaven by Chapel Royal won for Martha Gonzalez and Horse’n Around Racing Stable and trainer Nick Gonzalez on Wednesday at Gulfstream. The filly won a $25,000 claiming race for her 4th straight win and she was claimed by trainer Angel Medina.
Huntington Stud Farm bred the dark bay filly.
(Trainer Jorge Navarro claimed 6 horses on the card at Gulfstream on Wednesday)
Ontario bred FOREST BREEZE (Old Forester – Classic Blonde by Regal Classic) won an allowance race worth $17,500 at Mahoning Valley on Wed. night. The 5-year-old is owned and trained by Jay Bernardini and bred by Mark Hughes.
TYLER PIZARRO BACK IN ACTION
Sovereign Award winning rider is in Kentucky
Canada’s Apprentice rider of the year of 2007, TYLER PIZARRO, has returned to riding and is currently at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. He rode his first 8 races at that meeting beginning last Saturday, alreayd had a winner, and he has a number of mounts over the next few days including a runner for the Prairie Bayou Stakes this weekend.
Pizarro won 140 races in 2007 and $5 million in purses and was a top rider at Woodbine through 2013. He missed all of 2014 and then won 14 of 162 races in 2015.
GARRET GOMEZ passes away at 44
Won BC Classic on Blame:
Canada’s top older horse aiming for Pegasus World Cup
Gunpowder Stables’ BREAKING LUCKY, recently second in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs to Gun Runner, has returned from a short freshening and is training at Palm Beach Downs with Reade Baker.
“He will work this weekend, weather and track condition to be considered and we’re pointing to the Pegasus World Cup,” said Baker on Wednesday morning.
The new race, hatched by Gulfstream Park racetrack owner Frank Stronach is a unique event (see story below) in which starters have pay $1 million to race their horses against their rivals and then share in the wagering and concessions.
Twelve owners have reserved a spot in the starting gate for $1 million USD. They can race, lease, share a starter, or sell their place in the gate. The owners will share equally in the net income from betting, media rights and sponsorships. The winner of the race will earn a world-record $7 million USD.
NBC will broadcast a live 90-minute telecast from Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 from 4:30-6:00pm EST. The Stronach Group has also entered into a partnership with Henry Birtles Associates to distribute the international television rights to The Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Currently, only CALIFORNIA CHROME is confirmed for the 1 1/8 mile race on Jan. 28 as the owners of that wonder horse caught a starting berth.
The other berths belong to people who don’t have a horse to race in the event or may not race in the event. Stronach will likely keep his share and the interest of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner ARROGATE have been non-committal. GUN RUNNER is another possible starter.
“We have had some interest from people [who own a starting berth] to make a deal,” said Baker.
On his race record and speed figures, Breaking Lucky rates evenly with any older horse that could start in the race other than ‘Chrome or Arrogate’.
The Pegasus has a general admission cost of $100.
Gunpowder Stable is owned by Tom Keithley.
Today at Gulfstream, the Harlan’s Holiday colt NEOLITHIC could move towards a start in the Pegasus with a win in the featured race for trainer Todd Pletcher.
HORSE RACING’S $12 MILLION WAGER