Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Sun 11/9

December 10, 2019

Plesa Plots Futures of Mr. Jordan, Souper Colossal, Itsmyluckyday East Hall, Wildcat Red Target $350,000 Millions Classic

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. reported that Mr. Jordan was “100 percent” Sunday morning following his dazzling three-length romp at Gulfstream Park West in Saturday’s $100,000 Juvenile Sprint Stakes, one of seven $100,000 stakes on Sunshine Millions Preview Day.

In the 6 ½-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-olds, Mr. Jordan won handily under a motionless Paco Lopez, following up his 6 ¼-length debut victory at Monmouth Park to establish himself as an exciting prospect in the 2015 class of 3-year-olds.

“Needless to say, if you have a 2-year-old this time of year that shows you that talent, you’ve got to have it in the back of your mind, looking at the 3-year-old year,” Plesa said.

Mr. Jordan, a flashy gray son of Kantharos, had always been highly regarded by his trainer, who also conditions Souper Colossal, a multiple-stakes winner who finished a troubled seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.

“(Mr. Jordan) has only run twice. He’s different than my other 2-year-old, Souper Colossal, who started from the get-go. I’m going to send Souper Colossal back to Live Oak for 30 days to give him a little freshening. This horse doesn’t need it. He’s a fresh horse right now,” Plesa said. “We’re going to keep going forward with him. He could be similar to Itsmyluckday. Itsmyluckyday had a few more races than this horse, but he never needed a break. We kept going forward him.”

Plesa, who saddled Itsmyluckyday for a second-place finish in the 2013 Preakness Stakes as well as multiple stakes wins, said he’d look for a two-turn race in about a month’s time for Mr. Jordan’s return to action.

Mr. Jordan was purchased for $155,000 at the OBS April 2-year-olds-in-training sale by Plesa for his wife, Laurie, David Melin and Leon Ellman.

“He’s correct. He doesn’t have any flaws, conformation-wise. He’s just a nice-sized athletic horse that’s really grown into his body from the time I got him to now,” Plesa said. “He’s a bigger, stronger horse than when I bought him. He’s just gone the right way, not just from what he’s done on the racetrack, but from a physical standpoint.”

Meanwhile, Plesa is pointing Itsmyluckyday to the $500,000 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29.

“He’s going to run in the Cigar Mile on the 29th of November. Then, he’ll probably go to Spendthrift,” said Plesa, whose 4-year-old trainee is scheduled to stand at stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky. in 2015.

Itsmyluckyday, who captured the 2013 Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3), earned Grade 1 credentials while winning the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 30.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I can’t think of a horse race that’s been more gratifying to me for all the reasons you can imagine,” Plesa said. “He’s an unbelievable horse as far as I’m concerned. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do at stud. He’s certainly brought my family, my partners and myself and the people who work with him an unbelievable amount of excitement. We’re really, really going to miss him.”

East Hall, Wildcat Red Target $350,000 Millions Classic

Grade 2 winner East Hall will get a break before returning as a 4-year-old following his victory over Wildcat Red in Saturday’s $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West.

Trainer Bill Kaplan said Sunday morning that the next target for the 3-year-old son of Graeme Hall would likely be the $350,000 Sunshine Millions Classic on January 17 at Gulfstream Park.

“He came out of the race great; no problems,” Kaplan said. “The Sunshine Millions is probably the next place to go.”

Kaplan and owners Jack Hendricks and Roger Justice skipped the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery on November 1 at Aqueduct to keep East Hall at home, and the chestnut gelding responded with his second consecutive victory following the Indiana Derby (G2) on October 4, and third in four starts.

“He’s learned how to win, and we’ve kept him out of trouble the last three out of four,” Kaplan said. “He’s developing as he gets older, and he’s a horse that’s getting better and better. He’s going to be a heck of a 4-year-old, I hope, and he’s going to get better with the longer distances. He really wants the mile and a quarter, classic-type of distance. He’s improving and he thrives on racing, and he’s done really well.”

East Hall won the Classic Preview in 1:46.99 for 1 1/16 miles. The Sunshine Millions Classic is run at 1 1/8 miles.

Hendricks credited the 68-year-old Kaplan with the development of East Hall, who was winless in his first seven starts of 2014 before taking the $300,000 Ohio Derby on July 19. Purchased for $55,000 last April, he has now earned $723,305 in 19 races.

“Bill and his team have done a fantastic job with this horse,” Hendricks said. “This horse has got a heart on him as big as Texas. He’s always trying and he gives you everything he’s got every time, except when he gets himself hurt. Then, he’s smart enough to take care of himself. To me, that’s a smart horse.”

East Hall won two of eight starts at 2 and had two seconds and two thirds, all in stakes, this year before his breakthrough victory at Thistledown. The only bump since then was a sixth-place finish in the Super Derby (G2) on September 6 at Louisiana Downs.

“A lot of the races over the last six or seven races, he would have run a lot better but he got into a lot of trouble. He has improved since the Ohio Derby,” Kaplan said. “It’s very, very satisfying because I’m very careful with these good young horses not to burn them up early by not letting them run to close to the pace and things like that. He’s learned his lessons, he knows how to win, he knows where to run and he’s just done an excellent job.”

East Hall had lost four previous meetings with Wildcat Red, all at Gulfstream Park: The Gulfstream Park Derby, Fountain of Youth (G2), Florida Derby (G1) and Quality Road stakes. East Hall had not run in Florida since the June 28 Quality Road.

“I was a fantastic win. Wildcat beat us four times, so that just made it that much sweeter,” Hendricks said. “He’s a very, very nice horse and to beat him makes our horse a very, very nice horse. He’s phenomenal.”

Multiple graded stakes winner Wildcat Red was in good shape Sunday morning following his runner-up finish to East Hall in Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Classic Preview.

Nick Galati, assistant to trainer Jose Garoffalo, said Wildcat Red would be pointed to the $350,000 Sunshine Millions Classic on January 17 at Gulfstream Park with a possible start after the Championship meet opens on December 6.

“I would think that’s still the plan,” Galati said. “Everything was fine yesterday. He came out of it good. Nobody was disappointed in him.”

Wildcat Red has five wins and three seconds in eight lifetime starts at Gulfstream Park, but was making his debut at Gulfstream Park West in the Classic Preview. He raced close to a fast pace set by long shot I’m Steppin’ It Up before taking over turning for home, only to be passed by a determined East Hall at the eighth pole.

“I thought he ran good,” Galati said. “I know that sometimes horses need a race over that track. It’s not unusual for horses doing real good to go over there and somebody a little tighter goes by them. But, he’s doing good. He’ll be different when we get back over here.”

Wildcat Red has lost his last four starts since taking the June 28 Quality Road at Gulfstream Park. He was ridden for the first time in the Classic Preview by Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado.

“The only thing he said was that if he didn’t have to chase that long shot it would have been a little different, but that’s racing,” Galati said. “He’s the same as he always was. He can do no wrong, honestly. Nobody’s worried about finishing second. The winner ran a nice race.”

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