Florida-bred 2-year-olds in spotlight
Future stars could be on display in four stakes races for juveniles on the Sunshine Millions Preview Day card Saturday at Gulfstream Park West. There are nine stakes in total, and the $75,000 races for Florida-breds serve as early preps for Sunshine Millions Day on Jan. 19 at Gulfstream Park.
Lucky Mike might be worth taking a shot with in the Juvenile Turf, which drew nine horses and goes as race 10.
The Handsome Mike colt, owned by Sam and Diane Schwartz, showed a lot of promise when he debuted in a maiden special weight race Oct. 27 at Gulfstream Park West. After getting off to a poor start in the one-mile race on turf, he started to make his presence known approaching the second turn. He was full of run but lost a lot of momentum while going wide on the turn. He persevered, though, and lost by only 1 1/2 lengths while finishing fourth.
Trainer Lilli Kurtinecz is hoping for a better trip Saturday.
“That was a bad start, but he showed me a lot, and he came out of the race fantastic,” Kurtinecz said. “He is eating better than ever, and he’s very professional. He’s the first horse for his owners, so it would be nice to win the race for them.”
Lucky Mike will break from post 5 with Hector Berrios riding.
Stirling Drive is another possibility in a wide-open event.
Trained by Milton Wolfson, he steadied sharply going into the first turn when he finished fourth going 7 1/2 furlongs in a first-level allowance race with a $75,000 claiming option Oct. 25 at Gulfstream Park West. In his previous start, Stirling Drive finished third in the $75,000 Armed Forces on Sept. 29 at Gulfstream Park.
Mr Wrench is the only stakes winner in the field, but he didn’t make any kind of impact in his last two starts in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill and the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland.
Mega Bucks improved when he moved to turf in his second start at Laurel, and finished full of run to win the same race Lucky Mike exits.
Juvenile Sprint: Jackson tough
Anyone going with Jackson in the Juvenile Sprint (race 6) is probably heading in the right direction. The 6 1/2-furlong dash drew 10 horses.
The 79 Beyer Speed Figure that the Jose Pinchin-trained colt received for his fourthplace finish in the $100,000 Dr. Fager on Aug. 4 at Gulfstream Park stands out. Jackson also showed an affinity for turf when he had a rough trip while finishing second in the $82,500 Hollywood Beach. Even with a clean trip, he wasn’t going to beat Bulletin, who subsequently won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
Jackson will break from post 7 under usual rider Emisael Jaramillo.
Maddy’s Last Dance, who looked like he was going nowhere down the backstretch, rallied to win a $50,000 starter race with a $50,000 claiming option on Oct. 17 at Gulfstream Park West. It was his second straight win for trainer Marcus Vitali. He also ran a good race over a sloppy track to finish second when he debuted in a $50,000 maiden-claiming race Sept. 3 at Gulfstream Park.
With plenty of potential speed, the shape of the race could work for him.
Select Friday eyes rebound
Trainer David Fawkes is expecting Select Friday to bounce back with a strong performance in the Juvenile Fillies Sprint (race 5). The 6 1/2-furlong race drew eight horses.
Select Friday finished seventh going two turns for the first time in the $400,000 My Dear Girl on Sept. 29 at Gulfstream. In her previous race, she was the runner-up going 6 1/2 furlongs in the $100,000 Desert Vixen on Aug. 4.
“She wasn’t herself going into her last start,” Fawkes said. “She’s doing great now, and she was well in hand in her last work.”
He was referring to Select Friday’s sharp half-mile move in 47.80 seconds last Saturday at Gulfstream.
Starship Nala, trained by Steven Dwoskin, could end up favored. She finished fifth in the Desert Vixen but was the runner-up in her next two starts, the $200,000 Susan’s Girl and the My Dear Girl.
Deep cast in Juvenile Fillies Turf
A well-matched field goes in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (race 8). Decorated Ace will be among the favorites in the one-mile race that drew nine horses.
Trained by Brenda McCarthy, Decorated Ace won the $78,000 Sorority on Sept. 1 at Monmouth Park and in her next start was overwhelmed by Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park. Newspaperofrecord remained undefeated with an impressive win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Lovely Luvy was impressive in winning her debut sprinting on dirt for trainer Victor Barboza Jr. Considering her two siblings have combined to win 11 races on grass, she could thrive with the surface switch.
Jackson (right) wins a maiden race at Gulfstream. He will be a contender in the Juvenile Sprint.