Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, February 22 from Gulfstream Park in beautiful Hallandale Beach, Florida. A purse of $150,000 will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go one mile on Gulfstream's turf track.
A field of 12 older entries will line up in the Canadian Turf - race 10 on Gulfstream's Saturday card. Post time is 5:03 PM. Here is a brief glance into the past performances of all 12 combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.
Guys Reward - Dale Romans trainee was on the sidelines for most of 2013 before returning to a third in an Allowance November 9 and a tenth in the minor El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream December 28. Last time out was a terrific win in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes February 1 coming from last to first. His other career highlight came in July 2012 - a win in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs but has placed in just two of seven starts since. A win last time out suddenly has Guys Reward on the Canadian Turf radar. He tries to build on his career best effort Saturday against a new rival...
Salto - had so-so career in Europe and in his North American debut finished fifth in the 2011 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. He was OK in 2012 and raced just three times in 2013 - a second behind Mr. Online as 17-10 favorite in the minor El Prado Stakes with a 97 Beyer Speed Figure December 28, an Allowance score at Gulfstream in October and a fourth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf in February. Last time out was a good second behind Guys Reward in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes February 1. Salto has been on and off due to injury for trainer Todd Pletcher but has been competitive when on the track. A win and two seconds in his last three starts has created a sense of optimism for this week however.
Mr. Online - enters this weekend on quite a roll - five wins and three seconds in his last eight starts including three straight wins ahead of the Canadian Turf. Last time out was a Starter Optional Claiming score here January 24 after a win in the competitive listed El Prado Stakes also on this track December 28. He has just one graded stakes starts in his career - a good second in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in October.
North Star Boy - Irish bred gelding had an OK career in Europe before shipping to North America. Saturday marks his graded stakes debut in the US after two straight seconds on this track - behind Longhunter in a Starter Optional Claiming last time out January 16 and a Starter Stakes behind the terrific Major Marvel December 7. Before that was a win and a third respectively in a pair of Allowance races this winter. North Star Boy has 29 career starts with five wins, four seconds and two third place finishes. He has proven to be an extra-ordinary claimer - it will be interesting to see him on the big stage Saturday.
Rydilluc - won the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes here last March and had a win in June in the listed Penn Mile Stakes but otherwise has struggled on the bigger stages. Last time out was an eleventh in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in August after an eighth in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby in July. He does have four wins in eight career starts - hopes are that Rydilluc can regain his form after six months away from the track. Rydilluc has two wins in two starts on this track and could surprise Saturday.
Fredericksburg - had two Allowance Optional Claiming scores last year - at Gulfstream December 21 and at Delaware Park in September and is coming off arguably his best career result - a second in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston January 25. He also had a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming and a fourth before that in the Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park September 30. Fredricksburg has placed in his last three starts overall and enters in good form.
Joha - was at his best in 2012 when he won the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity and finished second in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes but has been just OK since. Last time out was a decent third in the minor Duluth Stakes at Aqueduct November 17 after a win in the minor Basket Weave Stakes on that same track October 24. Joha did have a third in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes in September after a pair of seconds in minor stakes action but followed that with a fifth in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park October 5. He has been competitive at times in his career but enters in so-so form.
Abtaal - Kiaran McLaughlin trainee will make just his second start in North America after eight starts at home yielded two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. His one American start was a good one - a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track January 25.
Reload - Shug McGaughey pupil won an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out on this track January 17 - the only time he's placed in his last five starts. Reload had a pair of fourths in minor stakes action this past summer and went on to an eighth in the Grade 3 Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland October 4 and a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Aqueduct November 8.
Unbridled Ocean - Bill Mott trained gelding is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score here February 2 after a seventh in a similar rave January 9 and a couple of OK results in Dubai - a win in February 2013 and a sixth in a Group 3 race in March. He has four wins and a second place finish in nine career starts.
Bad Debt - has impressively placed in 33 of 39 career starts and has 10 wins on turf. Last time out was a third place finish in the Florida Sunshine Millions Turf after a third place finish in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder December 7 and a win in the Millions Turf Preview November 9 on this track. He has been impressive in his career, especially on turf, and figures to be a tough out Saturday. Bad Debt is used to being at or near the top in his racing career and could be again Saturday.
Hampstead Heath - Brian Lynch trained gelding raced in graded stakes company for the first time in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes here July 21 and finished a very good second and followed that with another second in the Grade 2 Sky Classic August 18. Last time out was a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine September 15. Prior to those result he had 10 career starts with three wins, two second and four third place finishes. He had two wins, two seconds and two thirds in seven starts in 2013 and makes his first start since September this Saturday.
Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:01 PM.
||J. Rocco, Jr.
||C. McGaughey III
||North Star Boy (IRE)