High­born not quite Three Rules

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Daily Racing Form - By Mar­cus Hersh

Jose Pinchin gave a rich Ja­maican laugh.

The ques­tion had been this: Could one com­pare High­born, who starts Satur­day at Gulf­stream in the $200,000 Af­firmed divi­sion of the Florida Sire Stakes, with Three Rules, whom Pinchin trained to win the 2016 edi­tion of that race.

“No, no, I don’t think so,” Pinchin said. “High­born is a nice lit­tle geld­ing, hope­fully as good as any of the oth­ers this year, but not Three Rules.”

In­deed, Three Rules gave the 2016 Florida Stal­lion Stakes se­ries a se­ri­ous jolt of en­ergy. A bril­liant 2-year-old, Flori­dasired or oth­er­wise, Three Rules won the Dr. Fager, the first leg of the se­ries, by seven lengths be­fore cap­tur­ing the Af­firmed divi­sion by more than five. Three Rules would go on to win the $500,000 In Re­al­ity by 10 lengths.

And, it just so hap­pens, Three Rules came off the farm and back into Pinchin’s barn at Gulf­stream on Satur­day.

Three Rules won the Grade 3 Carry Back at Gulf­stream by a neck on July 1, a game vic­tory that gave him a well-de­served first win of 2017, as well as a well-de­served break from rac­ing.

Three Rules had trav­eled from Florida to fin­ish sixth at Santa Anita Nov. 5 in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile, and on Feb. 4 he was back in ac­tion at Gulf­stream run­ning a strong sec­ond in the Swale Stakes. Three Rules’s win­ter break was short, and the Carry Back was his fifth start at age 3. He was due a rest fol­low­ing the Carry Back. “He jogged to­day. Looks good,” Pinchin said. “He was a tired horse. He danced ev­ery dance and danced with the best.”

Pinchin said there are no set plans for Three Rules. “It’s too soon to say where he’ll run,” said Pinchin. “It all de­pends on how quick he comes around.”

The High Cot­ton geld­ing High­born, mean­while, is owned by Pinchin’s wife, Tracey, and af­ter a sixth-place fin­ish in his five-fur­long de­but July 7, High­born, rac­ing with blink­ers added, was a solid sec­ond July 23 be­fore win­ning a sev­en­fur­long maiden race Aug. 12 by 7 1/4 lengths.

“He got a lit­tle more dis­tance, which was what he needed,” Pinchin said.

The field for the Af­firmed divi­sion of the sire stakes re­mained some­what in flux over the week­end, and the race could at­tract be­tween eight and 12 en­tries when it, along with the $200,000 Su­san’s Girl divi­sion for fil­lies, is drawn Wed­nes­day.

Blink­ers for Dunk

Dunk, who fin­ished sec­ond as the odds-on fa­vorite Aug. 4 in the Dr. Fager divi­sion of the sire stakes, will race in blink­ers for the first time in the Af­firmed divi­sion on Satur­day, trainer Stan­ley Gold said.

Dunk, who had scored a blowout maiden win July 15 rac­ing on Lasix for the first time, was head and head for the lead in the Dr. Fager but wound up sec­ond, beaten al­most three lengths.

“The colt hung a lit­tle bit in the stretch,” Gold said. “He’ll be wear­ing blink­ers. If you look at his races, he has a ten­dency to look to his out­side.”

Dunk has worked in blink­ers since his last start to give him a fa­mil­iar­ity with the equip­ment, said Gold.

Gold also has rea­son to be­lieve that Awesome Mass, the filly who fin­ished sec­ond in the $100,000 Desert Vixen divi­sion, also can im­prove.

“The filly stum­bled out of the gate and grabbed a quar­ter, and she hung on well for sec­ond,” said Gold. “I was dis­ap­pointed, and you have rea­sons for the way they ran, but they end up sound­ing like ex­cuses.”

◗ The highly re­garded Right­eous Ruth will get a real test when she tack­les a solid group of fil­lies and mares in a $25,000 op­tional-claim­ing race at Gulf­stream Park on Thurs­day. The one-mile turf race drew eight horses and goes as race 5. –ad­di­tional re­port­ing

by Randy Gould­ing

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