Poseidon Possible for G1-Placed Cherry Wine Pending Saturday Work Moment of Delight Ready for Debut in Sunshine Millions Distaff
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –Cherry Wine ran with some of the best horses in the country last spring, finishing third in the Blue Grass (G1) and second by a nose over Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
A since-corrected breathing issue was to blame when Cherry Wine’s form tailed off in the summer and he was well-beaten in his comeback off a three-month layoff in late November, leaving trainer Dale Romans to look ahead to a 2017 campaign.
Pending his breeze over Gulfstream Park’s main track Saturday morning, Cherry Wine could kick off his 4-year-old season in the $400,000 Poseidon on the undercard of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream. Like the Pegasus, the Poseidon is run at 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds and up.
“It’s very possible. We’ll see how he works tomorrow and then I’ll talk to the owners and see what we want to do,” Romans said. “He’s been training very well. I don’t know how the race is going to come up but we’ll see.”
William Pacella. Frank Jones Jr. and Frank Shoop’s Cherry Wine got time off after a 3-year-old season that saw him earn $512,754 from eight starts despite just one win, a six-length optional claiming allowance romp going 1 1/16 miles last January at Gulfstream.
He has had two sharp five-furlong works at Gulfstream this month, going in a bullet 1:00.88 Jan. 8 and following up with a 59.62-second move Jan. 14, sixth-fastest of 46 horses.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do, but he’s come down here and done well,” Romans said. “I just wanted to come down here and train on him a little bit and he’s done so well I think he deserves to run with that bunch, try to give him one more shot with the big ones and see what happens. He’s been a nice colt.”
Romans said an operation to fix Cherry Wine’s breathing came after he came up empty in the 1 ¼-mile Secretariat (G1) Aug. 13 at Arlington Park. He was never in contention in his return, a 1 11/6-mile optional claiming allowance where he was beaten 9 ¼ lengths as the favorite.
“We had to do throat surgery on him. He kind of lost his wind over the summer and now it looks like he’s back to his old self,” Romans said. “We did it after Arlington and we ran him at Churchill and he didn’t run well, but I don’t think he was comfortable with understanding he could breathe. Now I think he is. He’s figured it out. Sometimes it takes a little while for that stuff to set up to work.”
Other horses being considered for the Poseidon include Grade 1 winner Hoppertunity; Grade 2 winner Imperative, an earner of more than $2 million in career purses; and the Todd Pletcher-trained multiple graded stakes-winning stablemates Stanford and Madefromlucky.
Romans is also going to give Prayer for Relief his final breeze Saturday before making his 9-year-old debut in the Pegasus. Romans is still working on securing a rider for the career earner of $2.02 million.
Moment of Delight Ready for Debut in Sunshine Millions Distaff
Pinnacle Racing Stable and Norman Stables’ multiple stakes winner Moment of Delight is set to make 5-year-old debut and first start for trainer David Fawkes in Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Distaff.
A 5-year-old daughter of A.P. Warrior, Moment of Delight owns four wins and three seconds from 12 lifetime starts at Gulfstream including victories in the 2015 Florida Sire Meadow Star for trainer Bill Kaplan and the 2016 Boca Chica and Millions Distaff Preview for Stanley Gold.
Moment of Delight was transferred to Fawkes following her Preview win in mid-November at Gulfstream Park West in her final start of 2016.
“We’ve had her about two months. She’s training super and doing great,” Fawkes said. “We just backed up on her, gave her a month and didn’t breeze her. We’ve only breezed her about four times but her last work was outstanding and that’s what you’re looking for. You always want the last work to be a good one.
“She worked out of the gate. We just did a little something different with her,” he added. “I don’t normally do that but I wanted to do it with her just to get a little tightener into her. She looks fabulous, her weight’s good, she’s eating good. We just freshened her up and kind of got to know her needs. Knock on wood, she’s very healthy right now so hopefully she’ll show up Saturday.”
Moment of Delight has flashed speed in each of her previous stakes wins including the Meadow Star. She drew Post 4 in a six-horse field at topweight of 121 pounds including Championship Meet-leading rider Luis Saez.
“I love it. I think we’re in a great spot,” Fawkes said. “I’m not going to change anything. Hopefully there won’t be a huge speed duel and I won’t be in the mix. I’m excited.”
Fawkes said he will be in Ocala this weekend to get an update on Curtis Mikkelson’s multiple stakes-winning Florida-bred Cajun Delta Dawn, who was given a break following her runner-up finish to Shane’s Girlfriend in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) Nov. 19.
A 3-year-old daughter of Kantharos, Cajun Delta Dawn won the first four starts of her career, three of them in stakes, including the first two legs of the Florida Sire Series for juvenile fillies, the Desert Vixen and Susan’s Girl, but came up 1 ¼ lengths short of a sweep when fourth in the My Dear Girl.
“I just spoke to Curtis the other day. He said she’s doing good and they were just going to put the tack on her and maybe start jogging her around a little bit. I’m going to go up there and see her and hopefully get her down here pretty soon,” Fawkes said. “He wants me to come up there and see what’s going on, and it won’t be long. I want to give her at least 60 days. She’s been gone about 45 days now, so probably by the time I get up there and get a look at her she’ll be ready to come back.”
Cajun Delta Dawn stepped away from state-breds in the Delta Downs Princess, where she was no match for the winner but was clear second by more than two lengths. Shane’s Girlfriend went on to run third in the Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita.
“We’ll find some Florida restricted races for her to start out with. If she proves she’s more, we’ll give her more,” Fawkes said. “But, they have to show what they can do. She got into open company and she ran great to be second, but she also got beat [13 ¼] lengths. She’s a nice filly.”