Bet Preakness Stakes 146
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Trainer Michael Matz entered Just Whistle in Sunday's $75,000 Sunday Silence at Gulfstream Park with the hope that the son of Pioneerof the Nile will continue on an upward trend in the 1 1/8-mile stakes for older horses.
Just Whistle, whose always promising career has been interrupted on several occasions, is coming off a solid second-place finish in the March 28 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park.
Race 9 at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, May 17 - Post 4:52 PM
|1||Wind of Change (BRZ)||9-2||Edgard Zayas
|Efren Loza, Jr.|
|2||Eye of a Jedi||20-1||Marcos Meneses
|3||Spinoff||5-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|4||Big Dollar Bill||5-1||Emisael Jaramillo
|5||Phat Man||3-1||Joe Bravo
|6||Just Whistle||7-2||Luis Saez
|7||You're to Blame||10-1||Miguel Vasquez
"Now hopefully, he can put some good back-to-back races together," Matz said.
The Helen K. Groves homebred 5-year-old gelding demonstrated potential as a 3-year-old, finishing third in the Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont off a maiden score before going to the sidelines. He won his first start as a 4-year-old before racing competitively while finishing fourth in the Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland, fifth in the Pimlico Special (G3) and second in an ungraded stakes at Delaware before once again heading to the sidelines.
Coming off a seven-month layoff, Just Whistle finished fourth in a Feb. 29 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream before falling just a length short in the Hal's Hope.
"He's always been a nice horse. He had little things that were bugging him," Matz said "We put the blinkers on him [last time out] and he brightened up from that a little bit. Hopefully, he'll start to be a little more consistent. He's had a couple little things, like stone bruising and things like that."
Leading rider Luis Saez has the mount aboard Just Whistle.
Wertheimer and Frere's Spinoff will also seek to make a step toward realizing his potential in the Sunday Silence. The Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old finished second in last year's Louisiana Derby (G2) before finishing off the board in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Derby (G1) at Belmont Park.
The son of Hard Spun finished his 3-year-old season on a positive note, defeating graded-stakes winner Lone Sailor by 5 ¾ lengths in a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance at Saratoga Aug. 19.
Spinoff returned off an eight-month layoff to finish fourth in an April 25 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, beaten a neck and a nose for second in the seven-furlong race won by Global Campaign, the 2019 Peter Pan (G3) winner.
Pletcher also entered Bortolazzo Stable LLC's You're to Blame, who finished off the board in the Hal's Hope in his 2020 debut, in the Sunday Silence.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount aboard Spinoff, while Miguel Vasquez has the call on You're to Blame.
Brett and Cheryl Franklin and Dennis Farkas' Big Dollar Bill certainly won't have a problem with the 1 1/8 miles of the Sunday Silence being too long. The 6-year-old gelding has excelled at longer distances, having captured the 1 ¾-mile Birdstone at Saratoga in 2018. He also finished third in the 1 ½-mile Greenwood Cup (G3) at Parx and the Marathon (G3) on the Breeders' Cup program at Churchill Downs that year.
"He's versatile. He doesn't have to run a mile and a half he can run a mile, a mile and an eighth, a mile and a sixteenth," Wilkes said.
The stretch-running son of Midnight Lute won a Feb. 7 optional claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs at a mile and 40 yards. A month later at Tampa, he was unable to close into a slow early pace and finished fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Challenger (G3), in which Trophy Chaser defeated King for a Day by a neck.
"You have to overcome it. You can't always get the race you want. The horse has to overcome it," Wilkes said. "Those horse that were 1-2 were just too good that day."
Phat Man enters the Sunday Silence in peak career form, having produced a victory and two second-place finishes in three graded stakes during the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream. The Kent Sweezey-trained 6-year-old gelding finished second in the Harlan's Holiday (G3), won the Fred Hooper (G3) and finished second in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).
The son of Munnings, who is owned by Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing LLC, and Two Rivers Racing Stable LLC, will be ridden by Joe Bravo.
Amansio Alonso and Some in Time Inc.'s Wind of Change, a Brazilian Import who won a March 28 optional claiming allowance in his second U.S. start, and Eye of a Jedi, who closed from far back to finish fourth in the Hal's Hope, round out the field.
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