Gulfstream News & Notes: Thu 12/31

December 10, 2019

Mohaymen Breezes Half-Mile at Palm Meadows Awesome Banner Making Big Leap into G3 Hutcheson

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Noholdingback Bear Ready for Rematch with Sheikh of Sheikhs Undefeated Cathryn Sophia Bypasses Old Hat for Forward Gal

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen, regarded as the top Triple Crown contender on the East Coast, returned to the work tab Thursday morning for the first time since his arrival in South Florida earlier this month.

The undefeated gray or roan son of Tapit breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 over the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

“He looked great,” McLaughlin said. “He was great and happy. He might skip a work but he’s going to probably work weekly and point for the race at the end of the month.”

Mohaymen is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream. McLaughlin won the 2014 Holy Bull with Cairo Prince and was second this year with eventual Grade 1 winner Frosted, who also had an easy half-mile work on Thursday.

A sales-topping $2.2 million yearling purchase last fall at Keeneland, Mohaymen debuted with a professional half-length victory Sept. 19 at Belmont Park. He has since put together back-to-back Grade 2 victories at Aqueduct, the one-mile Nashua Nov. 4 and the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Nov. 28.

“It was time to get working again. He’s been training but we just took it easy for a few weeks because we had time,” McLaughlin said. “He’s doing very well. We’re real happy with him. He’s a nice horse. We’re looking forward to the Holy Bull.”

Awesome Banner Making Big Leap into G3 Hutcheson

Jacks or Better Farm’s Awesome Banner is scheduled to make the leap into graded-stakes company at Gulfstream Park Saturday off a maiden-breaking victory back in June. Entered in the $100,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G3), the 3-year-old son of Awesome of Course will also be coming off a track-breaking performance, after running 4 ½ furlongs in 51 seconds to graduate by nearly 10 lengths.

“He’s coming off a long layoff, off one race. He’s inexperienced, fresh, young, immature, but he can just flat out run,” trainer Stanley Gold said. “So we’re going to try him.”

Awesome Banner went to the sidelines after exciting his debut with a small knee chip.

“It was fresh, clean and we took it out,” Gold reported. “Everything’s gone on schedule.”

Awesome Banner breezed six furlongs in 1:11.61 last Saturday in preparation for his return to action.

“He’s not a battle-tested horse. He only has the one race,” Gold said. “You could do what he did in his first race and never run another good race. His works show that he is (ready to run another good race).”

Noholdingback Bear Ready for Rematch with Sheikh of Sheikhs

Bear Stables’ Noholdingback Bear is set for an attempt to turn the tables on Sheikh of Sheikhs in Saturday’s $100,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream. The Michael De Paulo-trained 3-year-old made a determined stretch bid in the $100,000 Juvenile Dirt Sprint at Keeneland on the Breeders’ Cup program undercard Oct. 31, only to fall a half-length short of catching the Wesley Ward trainee.

“We expected him to run good, and he did. We were really green and got in a little trouble down on the rail,” De Paulo said. “I think he’ll run better this time.”

The son of Put It Back had previously broken his maiden over Woodbine’s synthetic surface with a front-running 5 ¾-length triumph Sept. 27.

“My boss was thinking of running in the Breeders’ Cup, which is kind of hard to do off one start. We decided to run him in the Juvenile Dirt Sprint. I thought he ran a pretty good race, all things considered,” said De Paulo. “Saez rode him and really liked him. It was the first time he was on him. He’s breezed him three times here and has been very happy with his works.”

Noholdingback Bear’s performance in the Hutcheson will help to determine whether he’ll remain at sprinting distances or given a chance to stretch out.

“Bear (Danny Dion) and I talked about it. We’re going to run him here and see how he does,” De Paulo said. “He does have some stamina on the dam’s side of the family. The dam is by Elusive Quality, a pretty decent sire, and the second dam”

Undefeated Cathryn Sophia Bypasses Old Hat for Forward Gal

Kash is King, LLC’s Cathryn Sophia, who has won her two career starts by a combined 29 lengths, was nominated for Saturday’s $100,000 Old Hat (G3), but trainer John Servis decided to bypass the six-furlong sprint in favor of the seven-furlong $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream Jan. 30.

“I wouldn’t say she strictly looks like a sprinter, but she’s not a big, two turn-looking horse either. One of the reasons I wasn’t crazy about shortening her up for the Old Hat,” Servis said. “I wanted to come right back with the seven-eighths, and if she runs real well in there, hopefully, she’ll be able to come back for the (mile) Davona Dale (Grade 2; Feb. 27) and give her a little distance and see how she handles it.”

The daughter of Street Boss debuted at Parx Racing Oct. 30, scoring a handy victory by 12 ¾ lengths at six furlongs.

“We were pretty excited naturally. It was a maiden race, so you don’t know what she beat, but we were happy the way she ran and she ran a pretty good time over a very deep, cuppy racetrack," Servis added. "We started getting excited about her.”

The Maryland-bred filly came right back to win the seven-furlong Gin is Talking Stakes at Laurel with a front-running 16 ¼-length victory Dec. 5.

“That was pretty awesome. She’s got so much talent and she showed it in that race. There were a couple decent horses in there. In fact, the horse that finished fifth (Look Who’s Talking) in there won a stake at Laurel Saturday,” Servis said. “She was pretty impressive. We were happy to see that kind of effort from her. She did it pretty easy.”

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