Heart to Heart may dom­i­nate Trop­i­cal Turf with his speed

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Marty McGee

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – For­give those last two races and con­sider his en­tire body of work. Chances are very good that more happy sto­ries are still to be writ­ten about a fan fa­vorite named Heart to Heart, whose seventh year of rac­ing lies ahead.

One of the pre­em­i­nent turf mil­ers in North Amer­ica the last cou­ple of years, Heart to Heart will make his 8-year-old de­but as a heavy fa­vorite in the $100,000 Trop­i­cal Turf, which shares the Saturday spot­light at Gulfstream Park with its Grade 3 sis­ter, the $150,000 Marshua’s River.

Heart to Heart, with Julien Leparoux to ride from post 6, fig­ures to use his su­pe­rior speed in dom­i­nat­ing his six op­po­nents from the start of the one-mile Trop­i­cal Turf.

“He’s a front-run­ner; he’s bold; he gets out there,” said Brian Lynch, who trains the On­tario-bred Heart to Heart for Terry Hamil­ton. “The way he’s train­ing, be­ing around him for as long as I have, I’d say he’s sit­ting on a big race.”

Al­though he fal­tered to fin­ish out of the money in his two most re­cent starts, both came in Grade 1 com­pany over turf cour­ses with con­sid­er­able give to them. A far dif­fer­ent sce­nario awaits Saturday, when Heart to Heart will be tak­ing what amounts to a colos­sal class drop and may likely hear his feet rat­tle over firm go­ing.

“He loves this strip here,” said Lynch, re­fer­ring to five prior stakes vic­to­ries at Gulfstream for Heart to Heart, a two-time Grade 1 win­ner who has earned more than $2 mil­lion from 38 starts.

After a brief re­group­ing in the af­ter­math of a re­sound­ing de­feat in the Grade 1 Shad­well Turf Mile at Keeneland in early Oc­to­ber, the bay horse with an un­mis­tak­able heartshaped blaze has re­bounded in his train­ing, Lynch said. Five De­cem­ber works over the Palm Mead­ows turf, in­clud­ing a cou­ple of bul­lets, have Heart to Heart on his toes for his come­back.

“He’s back now and he seems to be do­ing as good as he ever has, so we’re re­ally ex­cited about run­ning him,” Lynch said.

Vici (post 1, Tyler Gaf­falione), stretch­ing out from sprints, might have the early foot to keep Heart to Heart hon­est down the back­stretch, but class will tell once they all straighten for home. If Heart to Heart is to some­how be dealt an up­set, the most likely can­di­dates are White Flag (post 2, Jose Or­tiz), a steady Shel Evans home­bred, or Your Only Man (post 7, Irad Or­tiz Jr.), who has put forth solid ef­forts in three lo­cal at­tempts since be­ing claimed by Mar­cus Vi­tali for $25,000 on clos­ing week­end at Saratoga.

Round­ing out the lineup are Hol­i­day Stone, Doc­tor Mounty, and Mr Freeze. Con­quest Big E will start only in the highly un­likely event the race is trans­ferred to the main track.

This will be the 41st run­ning of the Trop­i­cal Turf, a Calder holdover. The race ac­knowl­edges the old Trop­i­cal Park, which op­er­ated from 1931-72. It goes as the ninth of 12 races.

Get the lat­est news from Gulfstream at live.drf.com

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