Itsaknockout Works Easy Half-Mile for Besilu Stables Florida Derby Pine Needles Impresses Again in Turf Test for Fillies
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL â€“ Starlight Racingâ€™s Itsaknockout breezed an easy half-mile in 49.58 seconds Saturday at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for a scheduled start in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) March 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The breeze was Itsaknockoutâ€™s second half-mile breeze since his victory by disqualification in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 21.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 3-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid launched his career with a late-rallying triumph at Gulfstream on Dec. 7. He came right back to score a dominating 5 Â¼-length entry-level optional claiming allowance victory on Jan. 4. In the Fountain of Youth, Itsaknockout finished 2 Â¾ lengths behind Upstart but was placed first after the stewards blamed the race winner for interfering with the runner-up in the stretch.
Itsaknockout and Upstart are scheduled to meet again in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby. The Rick Violette Jr.-trained Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) winner Upstart breezed six furlongs in 1:14.40 Friday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Pine Needles Impresses Again in Turf Test for Fillies
Jon and Sarah Kellyâ€™s Pine Needles ran her career record to 2-for-2 in Saturdayâ€™s seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance test for 3-year-old fillies. Trainer Christophe Clementâ€™s promising star of the future overcame her far-outside No. 11 post to stalk the early pace before moving to the lead coming off the turn into the homestretch.
The daughter of Giantâ€™s Causeway held off the late rally of Whimsicality to run 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.90 under jockey Luis Saez.
â€œItâ€™s exciting,â€ Clement said. â€œWeâ€™ll sleep and dream a little tonight.â€
Pine Needleâ€™s debuted at Gulfstream on New Yearâ€™s Day with a front-running score in which she fought back to win by a nose.
In the ninth race, a seven-furlong maiden special weight vent, trainer Graham Motion unveiled a 3-year-old colt with exciting potential. Donworth ($5.20), who had been working forwardly at Palm Meadows, graduated by neck despite being checked hard at the half-mile pole and being steadied on the turn into the homestretch.
Regis Racingâ€™s son of Tiznow ran seven furlongs in 1:23.75 under Joel Rosario.
Sundayâ€™s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Guaranteed at $100,000
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot will be guaranteed at $100,000 for Sundayâ€™s 12-race program.
The popular multi-race wager, which produced a $1.079 million jackpot on Thursday, will span Races 7-12.
Also, the Late Pick 4 pool will be guaranteed at $100,000 and the 50-cent Pick 5 pool will be guaranteed at $50,000.
First-race post time is set for 1 p.m.
Whoâ€™s Hot: Jockey Corey Lanerie and trainer Dale Romans teamed for victories with Taylor S ($6) in the Any Limit Stakes in the fourth race and Piceance ($16) in the sixth.
Trainer Brian Lynch also saddled two winners, including Shaman Ghost ($27.40) in the eighth and Silks Run Stakes winner Power Alert ($3.80) in the 11th.
Jockey Luis Saez doubled aboard Midnight Notes ($8.80) in the first and Pine Needles ($9.80) in the seventh. Rajiv Maragh also made two visits to the winnerâ€™s circle, taking the fifth aboard Monty Haul ($10) and the 10th on Heyaarat ($11.40).
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $100,000 GTY Super Hi-5 Carryover: $6,824.28