Twinspires.com Weekend Stakes: Where To Watch
Gulfstream Park, in the South Florida city of Hallandale, is the only track with any graded stakes on the schedule this weekend. Three Grade 2 stakes, all for 3-year-olds, will be run Saturday—the Hutcheson, Davona Dale and Fountain of Youth.
The Davona Dale, which drew a field of nine fillies going a mile on dirt, is a rematch among the top four finishers in the Jan. 30 G2 Forward Gal. In that contest, Dancinginherdreams was the favorite, though both she and R Heat Lightning showed closing odds of $1.30-1. But it was Pomeroys Pistol who was the upset winner at 9-1, out-finishing Dancinginherdreams by less than a length. Getting the show another 3 ½ lengths back was Evil Queen, who finished a neck ahead of R Heat Lightning. Among others joining the fray are Oh Carole, winner of both her lifetime starts, and Roxy Gap, who won her initial three starts before running third in the Jan. 5 Old Hat (G3), a race where Pomeroys Pistol was second.
Next up on Saturday’s 11-race card is the seven-furlong Hutcheson for colts and geldings. The two given the most respect from the morning line odds-maker, Travelin Man and Flashpoint, are both coming off impressive debut maiden wins. Could there a be repeat performance from one of those like we saw last weekend when The Factor captured the G2 San Vicente at Santa Anita off a monster maiden win? Travelin Man, conditioned by Todd Pletcher, broke his maiden by over seven lengths on Jan. 6 over this track. Flashpoint comes from Rick Dutrow’s barn; the son of Pomeroy defeated his foes first time out at Aqueduct in January. Those two face eight others, including Madman Diaries, Crossbow and Black N Beauty.
The Fountain of Youth, one of the major prep races on the Derby trail, is the marquee race, and has eight expected starters led by the highly-regarded To Honor and Serve, making his first start of 2011. Bill Mott, who knows a thing or two about training horses, has not yet won that coveted garland of roses, and this talented son of Bernardini may be his best chance to date. Mott knew he had something special in his barn last year, but rather than push him toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he ran the colt instead in Aqueduct’s Nashua and Remsen stakes, both of which were handy wins. Challengers include Soldat, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, whose 2011 debut was a smashing 10 ¾-length allowance victory on dirt, and Gourmet Dinner, a bit of a disappointment since winning the Delta Jackpot.
On Sunday, Gulfstream presents the G3 Canadian Turf Stakes, a one-mile turf test for older horses. Twilight Meteor won the 2009 running of the Canadian Turf and was retired for stud duty not long after. The son of Smart Strike returned to the races, making two starts in late 2010, including a win in Calder’s G3 Tropical Turf Handicap. His lone start this year was a fifth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Twilight Meteor lines up in the gate with nine others, including Little Mike, sixth in the Gulfstream Turf, but a winner previous to that in the G3 Ft. Lauderdale over this course. Another to consider is Yankee Fourtune, undefeated in five starts last year, including two graded stakes. Kieran McLaughlin’s trainee makes his 2011 debut here. Also entered is Society’s Chairman, making his first appearance since the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Nicanor, who is still looking for his first stakes victory.