City of Weston Making Rare Stretch Out in Sunshine Millions Classic Preview Bullet Gone Astray Looks to Hit Mark in Juvenile Sprint Preview
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – A sprinter for all but one of 43 lifetime starts, Loooch Racing Stables’ City of Weston will try two turns for the first time in more than three years in Saturday’s $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West.
The 1 1/16-mile Classic is the fourth of eight stakes worth $800,000 on the 10-race Preview Day program that serve as stepping stones for Sunshine Millions Day Jan. 16 at Gulfstream Park.
Claimed for $62,500 in mid-March during Gulfstream’s 2014-15 Championship Meet, City of Weston became a stakes winner for the third time in the seven-furlong Blue Heron April 23, his debut for trainer Peter Walder.
From there the 5-year-old was third in the Parrot Key, sixth in the Smile Sprint (G2) and fourth in the Trinniberg, all at Gulfstream, each time gaining ground to the wire. The Trinniberg, on Aug. 1, is his most recent start.
“He hasn’t run in a while, but that’s not by design. I’ve been entering him a lot of places and the races haven’t been going,” Walder said. “Stretching him out is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while, since the [Smile Sprint].”
Winner of the 2013 Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx Racing, City of Weston was seventh in a one-mile, off-the-turf maiden special weight Aug. 25, 2012 at Gulfstream Park West, his only previous try beyond seven furlongs.
Rated second on the morning line at odds of 3-1 in the Classic, City of Weston is by Holy Bull, who won multiple Grade 1 stakes at a distance of ground including the Florida Derby, Haskell Travers and Woodward during his Hall of Fame career. His grandsire, Souvenir Copy, was a two-time graded stakes winner at one mile.
“He’s not built like a sprinter, and he’s really not bred to be a sprinter,” Walder said. “The way he runs, it looks like he’d appreciate running long. I’d have much rather done it in an allowance race, but you have to take what’s given you.”
In his career, City of Weston has eight wins, seven seconds, eight thirds and $540,335 in purse earnings. His stablemate, Sr. Quisqueyano, has returned to breezing and is being pointed to a defense of his upset in last year’s Sunshine Millions Classic at odds of 20-1.
“Everybody likes Quisqueyano because he’s Quisqueyano, but [City of Weston] is probably the barn favorite,” Walder said. “He’s in the first stall, and he’s so cool. He’s a mooch. The minute you go into the office, he thinks you’re going to grab something for him. I’ve never seen a horse eat fruit the way he does; watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, grapes. He’s a really cool horse.”
Lined up to challenge City of Weston are defending Classic Preview champion and 2-1 program favorite East Hall, winner of the Ohio Derby and Indiana Derby (G2) last year who snapped a seven-race losing streak in the Sensitive Prince Sept. 12 at Gulfstream; stakes-winning Bill Kaplan-trained stablemate Yourdreamsormine; the improving Saraguaro, winner of the Florida Stallion Foolish Pleasure Oct. 3; Jacks or Better Farm multiple stakes-placed homebred Southern Barbecue, third in the Foolish Pleasure; Nauset Beach and Aces for John.
Bullet Gone Astray Looks to Hit Mark in Juvenile Sprint Preview
Impressive in victory in his first two career starts, stakes winner Bullet Gone Astray looks to regain that form in Saturday’s $100,000 Juvenile Sprint, which caps a day of eight stakes on the $800,000 Sunshine Millions Preview program at Gulfstream Park West.
Trained by Henry Collazo for Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables, the 2-year-old Gone Astray colt won his unveiling by 1 ½ lengths June 28 at Gulfstream Park, then shipped to West Virginia to take the Mountaineer Juvenile by nine lengths Aug. 1.
Collazo brought the horse to Saratoga Race Course for the seven-furlong Hopeful (G1) Sept. 7, where he ran last of seven. Back in South Florida he was seventh by 3 ½ lengths in the one-mile Armed Forces Stakes Oct. 3, his first try on turf. He returns to dirt and shortens up to 6 ½ furlongs for the Juvenile Sprint.
“He’s doing real good. He came out of that grass race in good shape. We’ll try him back on the dirt and see if it can recapture some of those winning ways,” Collazo said. “Saratoga was just a question of circumstances. I don’t think he ran his race. I don’t think he necessarily is as bad as the result. I don’t regret doing it, I just regret the outcome.
“The grass was a good effort,” he said. “He only got beat 3 ½ lengths and he never had a chance to run. He was in a pocket the whole way. That was a good maintaining kind of race. He’s young, and with each race you come away with a little bit more. This is his fifth start, and I think we’re going back to a distance and a surface that is going to be pleasant.”
Bullet Gone Astray has had two sharp half-mile works since the Armed Forces, both in 47.86 seconds, the most recent coming Oct. 31 at Gulfstream. He drew post six in a field of 10 and will have regular rider Luca Panici aboard, sharing topweight of 122 pounds with trainer Stanley Gold’s Fellowship, winner of the $500,000 Florida Stallion In Reality Oct. 3.
“Post position, I’m where I’d like to be. We’ll see what happens,” Collazo said. “He still has to beat nine others. For me, I feel comfortable. Stanley’s and my horse are the only multiple winners in the race and the rest of them, they’re all being tested. It’ll be interesting. My horse has a wonderful personality and just to work around him has been a blessing. I just hope he keeps hitting new heights.”
Katie’s Kiss Takes On New Challenge in Turf Sprint Preview
Stonestreet Stables’ stakes-winning filly Katie’s Kiss will face a new challenge in her return to Gulfstream Park West for Saturday’s $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf Sprint Preview.
The 3-year-old bay daughter of Kantharos is one of three sophomores among 10 fillies and mares entered in the five-furlong dash for Florida-breds 3 and up. Though she has faced, and beaten, older horses twice already, including her last start, this will be her first test against males.
“Facing the boys would be the biggest concern,” trainer David Fawkes said. “She’s been training excellent. She’s a nice filly.”
Katie’s Kiss was a winner over Gulfstream Park West’s turf course in a five-furlong allowance Oct. 10, her first time under jockey Eddie Castro, who returns to ride from post two. She was second by a neck in the one-mile Florida Stallion Jewel Princess Sept. 5 after capturing the Summer Winds Stakes Aug. 16, also at the Turf Sprint Preview distance.
“She’s in really good form. She won a five-eighths stake already and she’s doing everything right,” Fawkes said. “She’s confident in herself, number one, and I think she’s got the ability to run with those horses. I don’t think the females are compromised as much sprinting. I think she fits in the race.”