Grade 1 Winner Makes 2015 Debut in Rescheduled $200,000 Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL â€“ With a string of horses in the frozen Northeast, as well as his primary winter base of South Florida, trainer Todd Pletcher is used to the weather disrupting training and racing schedules alike.
The seven-time Eclipse Award winner is hoping it was nothing more than an inconvenience when he brings back Daredevil for his much-anticipated sophomore debut in the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Swale (G2) at Gulfstream Park, one week after it was postponed due to torrential rainstorms.
In addition to the seven-furlong Swale for 3-year-olds, Saturdayâ€™s 12-race program includes the $150,000 Palm Beach on turf, also rescheduled from Feb. 28, and the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) for older horses.
â€œIt rarely happens here but we deal with similar situations in New York, particularly this winter a lot,â€ Pletcher said. â€œItâ€™s not ideal, but everyoneâ€™s in the same boat. Heâ€™s a very cool customer and nothing fazes him so far.â€
Letâ€™s Go Stable and WinStar Farmâ€™s Daredevil was one of the leading Triple Crown contenders heading into the Breedersâ€™ Cup Juvenile (G1), having cruised to a 6 Â¼-length victory in his September debut and followed up with a 2 Â½-length triumph over Upstart in Octoberâ€™s Champagne (G1), both over off tracks at Belmont Park.
Breaking from the far outside as the second choice in a field of 11 for the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, Daredevil raced wide and never found himself in contention and wound up last behind 13-1 long shot Texas Red.
â€œIâ€™m not really sure what happened,â€ Pletcher said. â€œHe got a wide trip on a track that probably wasnâ€™t playing that way, and he had had three races in a short period of time. Heâ€™s a very talented horse. He showed that in his first two starts last year and heâ€™s come back and trained very well. Heâ€™s a very efficient mover and just has a terrific action to him.â€
Regular rider Javier Castellano will be aboard Daredevil, the 123-pound highweight, from Post 1.
Six of the seven horses originally set to contest the Swale were re-entered on Wednesday, including Grade 3-placed X Y Jet, Spectacular Bid runner-up Ready for Rye and Senor Grits, a recent Tampa Bay Downs allowance winner who was third in the James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel Park.
Gelfenstien Farmâ€™s X Y Jet shows just one win in eight lifetime starts but has never been worse than fourth with five seconds including back-to-back stakes for new trainer Jorge Navarro. Beaten a neck in the Pasco Stakes on Dec. 27 at Tampa, the speedy Kantharos gelding was a half-length shy of Barbados in the Hutcheson (G3) Jan. 24 at Gulfstream.
Navarro gave the Florida-bred X Y Jet an open gallop on Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park West, and expects to employ similar front-running tactics that he showed in his last two starts. Jesus Rios will ride from Post 3 at 117 pounds.
â€œIt will be the same plan,â€ Navarro said. â€œHeâ€™s doing amazing. The way he trained (Sunday), I was like, â€˜Wow.â€™ Even the exercise rider jumped off and said â€˜He would have won the race.â€™ He was great and happy so weâ€™ll be set for Saturday.â€
Chalk Racingâ€™s Ready for Rye didnâ€™t debut until last September and romped by seven lengths in his maiden victory six weeks later on a sloppy, sealed track at Belmont Park. In his first race at 3, he battled for the lead in mid-stretch before giving way and finishing second by three lengths to Barbados in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid.
Ready for Rye worked a half-mile in 49 seconds on Monday at Palm Meadows, Gulfstreamâ€™s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. He will carry Luis Saez and 117 pounds from Post 4.
â€œOur schedule didnâ€™t really get all that interrupted,â€ trainer Tom Albertrani said. â€œAt least we had some time to come back and breeze him and he should be on pretty much the same kind of schedule, just a week later. The way he broke his maiden I was hoping for a little rain, just not so much.â€
Six Column Stables and Randall Blochâ€™s Senor Grits was a professional 1 Â½-length allowance winner on Jan. 31 in his first start at 3, 2 Â½ months after rallying for third behind subsequent stakes winners Cinco Charlie and Majestic Affair in Maryland to end his juvenile campaign.
Trainer Ian Wilkes has lined up Corey Lanerie to ride at 117 pounds from Post 6.
â€œHeâ€™s easy to train, and heâ€™s not a bad horse to ride,â€ Wilkes said. â€œHeâ€™s push-button. You can do whatever you want with him.â€
Live Oak Plantationâ€™s Souper Colossal was cross-entered in the Swale and the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), also on Saturday. The multiple stakes winner has won four of five starts including the five-furlong Texas Glitter on turf at Gulfstream Feb. 7 in his 3-year-old debut. His only defeat came in the Breedersâ€™ Cup Juvenile (G1), where he was seventh after chasing a wicked pace.
Winner of the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, formerly the Gulfstream Park Derby, on Jan. 3, Bluegrass Singer joins the Swale field just two weeks after contesting the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2), where he led the field for better than a half-mile before tiring to sixth.
Crossed Sabres Farmâ€™s Bluegrass Singer, who beat X Y Jet to break his maiden in October, cuts back to seven furlongs for the Swale after successive two-turn races, including the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), where he was third. Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado has the call from Post 8 at 121 pounds.
â€œHeâ€™s doing real good right now, Heâ€™s feeling good and acting good, so I figured why not? I got an extra week when they brought the race back,â€ trainer Marcus Vitali said. â€œI was just going with the flow and this seemed to fall into place with the extra week. I think heâ€™s better suited to the shorter distance.â€
Jacks or Better Farm homebred Twotwentyfive A, winner of the seven-furlong Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes last fall at Gulfstream in his only try at the distance, and stakes-placed Social Request, off the board in the Texas Glitter in his South Florida debut, complete the field.