Stablemates Itsaknockout, General a Rod Return in Deep Thursday Feature Rontos Lily Wires Field to Win Lasix-Free Maiden Race Wednesday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Itsaknockout and Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate General a Rod make their return to the races Thursday at Gulfstream Park in a one-mile optional claiming allowance on the main track.
Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout was a winner in all three of his starts last winter at Gulfstream including the Feb. 21 Fountain of Youth, where he was promoted from second following the disqualification of Upstart for interference.
A son of multiple Grade 1 winner Lemon Drop Kid, Itsaknockout has not raced since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He shows a steady string of works at Palm Beach Downs for his return, including back-to-back five-furlong bullets Dec. 13 and 20.
“We were prepping him for the Belmont Stakes and he came up a little bit off. He just wasn’t moving well so we gave him time off,” Starlight co-managing partner Don Lucarelli said. “You have to be at 110 percent to run in those big races, so we gave him some time and hopefully it serves him well. It looks like it did. He’s training really well.”
Starlight and Skychai Racing’s General a Rod won the Gulfstream Park Derby, now the Mucho Macho Man, was second in the Fountain of Youth and third in the Florida Derby (G1) in 2014. He ran in all three Triple Crown races that year, finishing fourth in the Preakness (G1). He won the Challenger Stakes in March in his first start for Pletcher, and hasn’t run since finishing last of 11 in the Manhattan (G1) June 6 over the Belmont Park turf.
“It was the same thing with him. We didn’t do anything surgically. He was a little bit body sore and we decided to give him some time to regroup,” Lucarelli said. “Hopefully, we’re back at it here. The bottom line is, they both need a race. We expect them both to run well tomorrow.”
Itsaknockout will break from post 2 under regular rider Luis Saez, while General a Rod will have Hall of Famer John Velazquez from post 5.
Also in the field are 2014 Brooklyn (G2) winner Norumbega; Bluegrass Singer, whose multiple stakes victories includes this year’s Mucho Macho Man; 2015 Sunshine Millions Classic winner Sr. Quisqueyano; Elnaawi, who captured the Jan. 3 Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park two starts back; and multiple graded stakes-placed Just Call Kenny, most recently fourth in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream.
Rontos Lily Wires Field to Win Lasix-Free Maiden Race Wednesday
Exiting a pair of stakes races in her fourth career start, Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Rontos Lily led all the way under jockey Emisael Jaramillo for a 2 ¾-length victory in Wednesday’s second race, a $50,000 Lasix-free maiden event for 2-year-old fillies.
A second Lasix-free one-mile turf event for open 2-year-olds drew a full field of 14 on Thursday, carded as the seventh of 10 races. Gulfstream carded its first Lasix-free juvenile races in mid-July during the summer meet.
Rontos Lily, a Florida-bred dark bay or brown daughter of Big Drama, broke alertly from post 5 and sprinted to the lead and was never threatened before drawing clear down the stretch to upset a field of 12 at odds of 29-1 ($60). Winning time was 1:39.47 over a firm turf course.
Love the Kitten held on to be second, a neck in front of Determined Lady and Lake Turkana, who dead-heated for third.
Who’s Hot: Four-time defending Championship Meet leading rider Javier Castellano strung together three straight victories on Wednesday, with Sophia’s Song ($5.80) in the fourth race, Pinstripe ($4) in the fifth and Don’t Make Me Cry ($3.40) in the sixth. Second to Castellano in the standings, jockey Luis Saez had a pair of winners with In Action ($6.60) in the third and Reagan’s Odyssey ($7.20) in the 10th. Both Reagan’s Odyssey and Don’t Make Me Cry are trained by Marcus Vitali.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $43,860.85 Super Hi-5 Carryover: $1,757.49