(Jockey Paco Lopez, to ride Math Wizard / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner Math Wizard and multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed Diamond Oops are scheduled to clash in Saturday’s $55,000 Coaltown Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
The mile overnight handicap, which attracted a field of nine 3-year-olds and up, will highlight a 12-race program that will get under way at noon. The Coaltown will also be part of Saturday’s mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6, which is expected to be in excess of $5 million.
The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Math Wizard will seek to rebound from a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Feb. 17 Razorback (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his 2020 debut.
“It was off of a layoff and he was hung out wide on a track that seemed speed-favoring. It was a disappointing result, but I think he’s been doing better after the race training-wise,” Joseph said. “He’s training much better in the last few weeks. I think he’s rounding back into form.”
The 4-year-old son of Algorithms, who is owned by John Fanelli and partners, concluded his breakthrough 3-year-old campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. The highlight of his 2019 campaign came at Parx in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, in which he registered a 31-1 upset victory over Mr. Money, War of Will and Improbable after previously finishing third in the Indiana Derby (G3) and second in the Ohio Derby (G3).
“He put me on the map. I had mainly claimers up to that point and for him to win a Grade 1, being a former claimer, it will be a moment I’ll never forget,” Joseph said. “I just watched the race back again last week. It never gets old. It’s a memory that will remain priceless for me forever.”
Math Wizard, who was claimed by his current connections for $25,000 out of an 18 ½-length victory Jan. 31, 2019, will likely return in a graded stakes should he perform up to expectations Saturday.
“There are no goals set. We have ideas where we can go, but we just want to get through this race first. We want to see him come back,” Joseph said. “Hopefully, he can come back and win and do it the right way.”
Math Wizard, who will be ridden by Paco Lopez, has been assigned 123 pounds, two less than 125-pound highweight Diamond Oops.
The Patrick Biancone-trained Diamond Oops, who also had a breakthrough year in 2019, is set to make his first start since finishing fourth in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 25 at Gulfstream.
“We decided to give him a break and then the virus came. He had no runs for 130 days, that’s why we want to run him Saturday. He’s a big, strong horse. He may need the race or he may not. We’ll see,” Biancone said. “He needs to start someplace.”
Diamond Oops ran well in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup, but the son of Lookin At Lucky has excelled at shorter distances.
“He is best at six furlongs to a mile. We have plans for the Met Mile [July 4 at Belmont Park] at the moment, but we’ll see how he runs Saturday and see if he runs up to form,” Biancone said.
Last year, the 5-year-old gelding captured the Smile Sprint (G3) on the Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream before finishing second in the six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga and the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland. He subsequently finished a troubled eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) before concluding the 2019 season with a victory in the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream for Diamond 100 Racing Club LLC, D P Racing LLC, Patrick Biancone Racing LLC and Amy Dunne.
Diamond Oops has trained on dirt and turf at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, in preparation for his return to the races.
“He’s training well. He’ll need the race for sure, but he’s trained well,” Biancone said. “He has to carry a lot of weight but we need to come back someplace.”
Luca Panici has the mount aboard Diamond Oops.
Multiple-stakes winner Noble Drama has been assigned 120 pounds. The David Fawkes-trained 5-year-old gelding, who finished second in the Big Drama last time out, kicked off his 2020 campaign with a victory in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream.
Joe Bravo has the call aboard Harold Queen’s homebred.
Equine Authority Inc’s Red Crescent, the Sunshine Millions runner-up; Jacks or Better Farm’s multiple-stakes winning older half-brother to 2020 Florida Derby runner-up Shivaree; Steve Budhoo’s Eye of a Jedi; St. George Stable LLC’s Letruska; Imaginary Stables’ Colour Guard; and Main Line Racing Stable’s Wentz round out the field.