(Lord Miles / Photo Courtesy of Gulfstream Park)
From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Vegso Racing Stable’s Lord Miles and Gentry Farms’ West Coast Cowboy are scheduled to represent Saffie Joseph Jr. in Saturday’s $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park in the defending Championship Meet training titlist’s quest to win the 1 1/16-mile Triple Crown prep in back-to-back years.
Joseph saddled White Abarrio for a 4 ½-length victory in the Holy Bull last season prior to the striking gray colt’s triumph in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1).
The Holy Bull will headline a 12-race program featuring five graded-stakes for 3-year-olds.
Lord Miles, who captured his Nov. 19 debut in eye-catching fashion, dropped back after an alert start in his subsequent appearance in the Jan. 1 Mucho Macho Man before making a late stretch surge to finish third, only three-quarters of a length behind first-place finisher Legacy Isle, who would be disqualified for drifting out and placed second.
“The last time he had a lot to do. He didn’t run a complete race,” Joseph said. “We’re putting some blinkers on him. Hopefully, they’ll make a difference.”
Lord Miles, a homebred son of Curlin, had previously overcome bumping on the backstretch to score going away by 5 2/4 lengths after a four-wide sweep into the stretch.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Lord Miles for the first time. The Joseph trainee will break from the No. 1 post position.
West Coast Cowboy, who will break from the No. 1 post position, was also victorious in his debut, setting a pressured pace before prevailing by a neck in a Sept. 18 maiden special weight race at a mile over a sloppy track. The homebred son of West Coast came back to finish and even fourth behind Legacy Isle in a mile optional claiming allowance Nov. 27.
“We’re giving him a chance. He’s not fast enough in the numbers,” Joseph said. “He’s not a very good work horse. I thought last time when he ran fourth in an allowance, it was an OK run behind the horse that won the Mucho Macho Man and was disqualified,” Joseph said. “We’re going to see where we are. They’re 3-year-olds. If you don’t give them a chance, you don’t know where you’re at.”
Edgard Zayas, who was aboard for West Coast Cowboy’s debut, returns for the Holy Bull. General Jim Bypasses Holy Bull for G3 Swale Courtlandt Farms’ General Jim will bypass the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) for the $125,000 Claiborne Farm Swale (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The son of Into Mischief is coming off a fourth-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in the mile Mucho Macho Man, in which he lacked running room during the stretch run.
“I was disappointed. I thought we ran the best horse,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. “He didn’t end up being that.”
General Jim will break from the No. 1 post position in the seven-furlong Swale, the first of five graded-stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday’s card that will be headlined by the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull.
“I thought they’d be speed and he could lay right behind them and finish up good,” McGaughey said “We’ll make up our minds from there.”
Jorge Delgado-trained Super Chow, a front-running winner of three stakes in a row, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. General Jim is rated second at 5-2.
“I’m looking forward to running him Saturday. He had two nice works here,” McGaughey said. “He’s got enough speed to lay right behind them and maybe make him finish a little bit.”
Luis Saez has the call on General Jim, a $850,000 purchase by Courtlandt Farm’s Donald Adam at the 2021 Keeneland September sale.
Prior to running in the Mucho Macho Man, General Jim ran three times on turf, winning his first two starts before finishing third in the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct.
“I think maybe in the long run maybe the grass, but after the fall Mr. Adam was anxious to try him back on the dirt, which I had no problem with,” McGaughey said. “He’ll probably stay on the dirt for a while.”
Yes I Am Free, Miss Auramet Top Feb. 11 Stakes Noms
Defending champion Yes I Am Free, fellow Grade 3 winner The Critical Way and Grade 1-placed Shekky Shebaz are among 17 horses nominated to the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) Saturday, Feb. 11.
Golden Kernel Racing Stable’s Yes I Am Free, trained by Laura Cazares, is a 10-time career winner who drew off for a 3 ¼-length triumph in last year’s Turf Sprint, following up with a hard-fought neck victory in the five-furlong Silks Run. He returned from six months between starts to capture a Jan. 19 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, also at five furlongs.
Monster Racing Stables’ The Critical Way won the 5 ½-furlong Wolf Hill and five-furlong Parx Dash (G3) in back-to-back starts in 2021, making his 2022 debut last May by winning the Get Serious at Monmouth Park. The Jorge Delgado trainee, also with 10 career wins, has not raced since finishing sixth after setting the pace in the Sept. 2 Lucky Coin at Saratoga.
TEC Racing’s Shekky Shebaz has had two seconds and two thirds from six starts since being claimed by trainer Marty Drexler for $80,000 in August 2021 at Saratoga. The 8-year-old was third in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and second in the 2020 Troy (G3) has placed nine times in 14 races since winning the 2019 Claiming Crown Canterbury at Gulfstream.
Also prominent among nominees are multiple stakes winners Belgrano and Carotari; stakes winners Classicstateofmind and Smokin’ Jay; My Pal Mattie, riding a two-race win streak; and Full Disclosure, a winner of three of six starts since being claimed for $35,000 last summer by trainer and co-owner Elizabeth Dobles.
Joining the Turf Sprint on the Feb. 11 program is the $100,000 Ladies’ Turf Sprint, also at five furlongs, for fillies and mares 4 and up which drew 15 nominations including the top seven finishers from the Dec. 24 Abundantia at Gulfstream – Miss J McKay, Imagery, Stony Point, Mamba Wamba, Miss Auramet, Spun Glass and Poseidon’s Passion.
Miss Auramet is a 12-time winner who is 16-for-22 in the money on the Gulfstream turf with six wins including a 1 ¾-length victory in last year’s Ladies’ Turf Sprint for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. Gary Barber’s Imagery, claimed for $50,000 two starts back, was third in the Ontario Fashion (G3) last fall on Woodbine’s all-weather surface.
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