Harvey Wallbanger, winner of the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) in his most recent start, breezed a half-mile in 47.10 seconds at Gulfstream Park early Saturday morning in preparation for a start in next Saturday's $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1)`.
The son of Congrats' breeze was his sixth workout since scoring a 29-1 upset Feb. 2 in the 1 1 /16-mile Holy Bull and ranked as the fastest of 99 recorded for the distance Saturday.
Owned by Harold Lerner, LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman and trained by Kenny McPeek, Harvey Wallbanger has never been worse than second in five career starts. The Kentucky-bred colt was the runner-up in three consecutive starts at Saratoga, Keeneland and Churchill Downs before capping his juvenile champagne with a maiden victory at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Nov. 17. His length victory in the Holy Bull came in his 2019 debut.
Later in the morning, Jacks or Better Farms' Garter and Tie breezed five furlongs in 1:02.22 for a planned start in the Florida Derby.
“The work was good. We wanted a little maintenance five-eighths,” trainer Ralph Nicks said. “We gave him a little freshening in between the last two and we just wanted to stretch his legs, put some air in him and we'll see how he handles a mile and eighth.”
Garter and Tie finished sixth in the Holy Bull, beaten 4 ¾ lengths by Harvey Wallbanger. The Florida-bred son of Brooks 'n Down had previously won the Smooth Air and finished third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes going a one-turn mine. The homebred colt won the $250,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed going seven furlongs last summer.
“I think the nine furlongs, his two-turn races, his numbers have not been quite as good as his one-turn races, but he trains like [he'll get the distance] and I think with the right setup…. we'll take the blinkers off of him and make a few changes and see how it goes,” Nicks said.
Dale Romans trained Florida Derby nominees Everfast (1:01.96), runner-up to Harvey Wallbanger in the Holy Bull, and Come On Gerry (1:02.66) both worked five furlongs at Gulfstream Saturday morning,
At Palm Beach Downs, R. A. Hill Stables and Gatsas Stables' Vekoma, who finished third in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.82. A decision on whether the George Weaver-trained colt will run in the Florida Derby or the Blue Grass (G2) April 6 at Keeneland has yet to be made.
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