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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Donn Handicap comes our way from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida on Saturday, February 6. Horses four years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $500,000 purse when they take to Gulfstream's dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles.
A field of eight have been confirmed for the Donn Handicap - race 13 on Gulfstream's packed Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:53 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all eight entries for this intriguing Grade 1 stakes.
Mshawish - Todd Pletcher pupil has 22 career starts with seven wins, two seconds and three third place finishes. He had a three race win streak at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 including last year's Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes here in January and the 2015 Gulfstream Park Turf in February. He has just five starts since - a nice win on this track last time out in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes followed consecutive fourths - the Grade 1 Cigar Mile November 28 at Aqueduct and in the Breeders' Cup Mile on unfamiliar dirt tracks. Those results followed a fifth in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap in August and a very good third in the UAE Derby at Meydan in March. Mshawish looks to make it two wins in a row, to channel his form from this time last year and to be one of a few that have Grade 1 wins on both turf and dirt when he leaves from post 3 with John Velazquez in the saddle.
Keen Ice - broke maiden in his second career start for trainer Dale Romans and has placed in five of 11 starts since - the best of which coming three starts back - a win over American Pharoah (the only horse to beat Pharoah so far) in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at 16-1 August 29. Before that was a good second behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational August 2 and a respectable third in the Belmont Stakes June 6. He also had a seventh in the Kentucky Derby and a fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Keen Ice looks for a bounce back this weekend after consecutive fourth place finishes ahead of this race - the Grade 1 Clark Handicap last time out at Churchill Downs November 27 and the Breeders' Cup Classic. He has been competitive almost every time out and will be after his first win since August. Javier Castellano gets the call on the 121 pound highweight from gate 6.
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Madeformlucky - won the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes and Grade 2 West Virginia Stakes in 2015 for trainer Todd Pletcher and enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes. Last time out it was a second in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes here December after the second in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct November 11. Madefromlucky now has four wins, four seconds and a third place finish in 13 career starts and has placed in three of his last four starts overall. He looks for his biggest win to date when he leaves from the rail with Joel Rosario aboard Saturday.
Itsaknockout - Todd Pletcher pupil has six career starts with four wins so far. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 4 3/4 lengths on this track December 31 which followed a disappointing ninth in the Kentucky Derby and an equally disappointing fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Early in 2015 he posted a win in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 21 after a fortunate DQ of Upstart, an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 4 by five lengths and a maiden score at first asking December 7. Itsaknockout has been a tad difficult to figure out but has posted some impressive results in the past. He looks for his first graded stakes score in a year Saturday - from post 7 with Luis Saez guiding him.
Valid - Marcus Vitali trained gelding has looked good lately - a second last time out behind Mshawish in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes on this track January 9 followed a win in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes here December 12, a fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and a nice two race win streak - the minor Groomstick Stakes at here September 26 and the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park August 30. He has 11 wins, eight seconds and six third place finishes in 33 career starts and has an impressive three wins, four seconds and a third place finish in his last nine starts overall - competitive almost every time out. Valid hopes to keep the roll going on a track he's posted two wins, two seconds and a third place finish in his six career starts -from gate 4 Saturday with Nik Juarez guiding him .
Financial Modeling - Chad Brown trainee makes his graded stakes debut Saturday having posted four wins and two third place finishes in eight career starts. He enters on a two race win streak - the $100,000 minor Queens County Stakes by four lengths last time out at Aqueduct December 19 and an Allowance Optional Claiming on that track in November. He has won three of his last four starts overall and steps up in good form. Irad Ortiz has been tabbed to ride from the outside gate 8.
Mexikoma - Michael Dilger trainee has four wins, a second and two third place finishes in 11 career starts and enters off a good win in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic here January 16. Before that was a fifth in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes in December and a third and a win in a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming races at Belmont Park in the fall. Mexikoma looks for his first graded stakes score in his second try (the first was a sixth in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile) when he departs from post 5. Corey Lanerie has the mount.
Closing Bell - legendary trainer Bill Mott sends out Closing Bell for his eighth career start - he has two wins and two second place finishes so far. He finished an OK fourth in his stakes debut in July - the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational and followed that with a good second in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August, a nice win in the minor Dueling Ground Derby at Kentucky Downs in September and a second in the minor Bryan Station Stakes at Keeneland October 30. Last time out was a bit of a step back - a seventh in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar November 28. Closing Bell has been competitive the last six months but looks for a bounce back off an uncharacteristic effort last time out. He chases his first graded stakes score from gate 2 Saturday with Jose Lezcano in the irons.
Race 13 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:53 PM.
|1||Madefromlucky||Joel Rosario||Todd Pletcher|
|2||Closing Bell||Jose Lezcano||William Mott|
|3||Mshawish||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|4||Valid||Nik Juarez||Marcus Vitali|
|5||Mexikoma||Corey Lanerie||Michael Dilger|
|6||Keen Ice||Javier Castellano||Dale Romans|
|7||Itsaknockout||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher|
|8||Financial Modeling||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Chad Brown|
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