Esken for money, Curlin’s Ap­proval re­matched in Royal Delta

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Marty McGee – ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Mike Welsch Fol­low Marty McGee on Twit­ter @DRFMcGee

HAL­LAN­DALE BEACH, Fla. – When last they met at Gulfstream Park, Esken­for­money was pulling a mild up­set over fa­vored Curlin’s Ap­proval in the Grade 3 Ram­part on Dec. 17.

Nine weeks later, they will meet again Satur­day in the Grade 2, $200,000 Royal Delta at 1 1/16 miles. Curlin’s Ap­proval once again will be fa­vored – she was 1-2 in the Ram­part when fin­ish­ing three-quar­ters of a length be­hind Esken­for­money, a 5-1 shot – but there’s likely to be more sup­port for Esken­for­money this time around.

“We’ve been point­ing to this race ever since the last one,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Esken­for­money.

At least six fil­lies and mares were ex­pected for the Royal Delta when en­tries were drawn Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, with Cabo­clo do Rio, Verve’s Tale, and Mo Green among the other prob­a­ble starters.

Af­ter the one-mile Ram­part, Curlin’s Ap­proval turned back to seven fur­longs to win the Grade 3 Hur­ri­cane Ber­tie on the Jan. 28 Pe­ga­sus World Cup un­der­card, again as the fa­vorite. Pletcher had Genre as the se­cond choice in that race and kept Esken­for­money in her stall.

“We didn’t want to turn [Esken­for­money] back, and the tim­ing [of the Royal Delta] re­ally suited us,” Pletcher said.

Esken­for­money, a 5-year-old Ken­tucky-bred, fig­ures sharp off the lay­off, which should help her chances if the pace is too soft, as of­ten hap­pens in a short field.

Mines and Magic ready

Vicki Oliver was all set to fin­ish off a nice 3-year-old sea­son with Mines and Magic when the filly came down with pneu­mo­nia, of all things.

“It is un­usual for a Thor­ough­bred to get pneu­mo­nia,” Oliver said. “It was a pretty bizarre thing.”

Mines and Magic won the $100,000 Dog­wood on Sept. 24 at Churchill Downs as the fa­vorite and was sched­uled to run back in the Raven Run at Keeneland.

Duly re­grouped at Payson Park, Mines and Magic is sched­uled to make her 4-yearold de­but here at Gulfstream Park on Satur­day in the $60,000 Wild Pearl at seven fur­longs.

“She’s ready to run again,” said Oliver. “We’re kind of look­ing long-term at the Dou­ble­dog­dare” in April at Keeneland.

Wild Shot re­turn­ing to Tampa

Wild Shot, beaten 3 1/2 lengths when fourth be­hind McCraken last week­end in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, will re­turn to Tampa Bay Downs for the March 11 Tampa Bay Derby “un­less I see no rea­son not to go,” said trainer Rusty Arnold.

Like McCraken, Wild Shot was mak­ing his first start since the Nov. 26 Ken­tucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Coasted get­ting in shape

Coasted was one of the sur­prise sto­ries of last year’s Breed­ers’ Cup, fin­ish­ing a fast­clos­ing se­cond while beaten just a half-length by New Money Honey in the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf.

Coasted was sent to Florida for the win­ter by trainer Leah Gyarmati, and af­ter a brief fresh­en­ing is slowly start­ing to work her way back into shape for her 3-year-old cam­paign. She turned in her fifth in a se­ries of works over the Gulfstream Park main track Tues­day, go­ing four fur­longs in 50.25 sec­onds in com­pany be­fore gal­lop­ing out five-eighths in 1:03.50 with Gyarmati fly­ing down for the day to over­see the drill.

Coasted, a daugh­ter of Tizway owned by Tread­way Rac­ing Sta­bles, was a stakes win­ner at 2, cap­tur­ing the P.G. John­son at Saratoga in her third start.

“She went five fur­longs in her pre­vi­ous work and it looked like it took her a cou­ple of days to bounce back, which is why I backed her down to a half this week,” Gyarmati said shortly be­fore catch­ing a flight back to New York on Tues­day af­ter­noon. “Right now, I’m un­de­cided about where she might start back.”

The first lo­cal op­tion for Coasted could be the Grade 3 Here­comes­the­bride at 1 1/16 miles on March 4.

Chilean im­port in­trigu­ing

Among the paddock school­ers at Gulfstream Park on Wed­nes­day was Hu­ra­can Americo, a Group 1 win­ner in his na­tive Chile at 2 who is cur­rently be­ing pointed to­ward a pos­si­ble start in the Grade 2 Foun­tain of Youth on March 4.

Hu­ra­can Americo, a son of 2010 Bel­mont Stakes win­ner Drosselmeyer, won the 1 1/2-mile Derby Na­cional on Nov. 6 in Lima. He ar­rived at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 20 and is be­ing trained by Dante Zanelli Jr., who brought an­other Peru­vian Group 1 win­ner, Tom­c­ito, here nine years ago to fin­ish third, a dozen lengths be­hind Big Brown, in the 2008 Florida Derby.

Hu­ra­can Americo has worked once since ar­riv­ing lo­cally, five fur­longs in 1:02.60, with jockey Edgar Prado aboard.

“We just wanted to give him an easy work and let him do a lit­tle bit the last quar­ter­mile, and he fin­ished up well,” Zanelli said.

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