Clement to Saddle Middleburg in Miami Mile, Discreet Marq in Powder Break
Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout Could Climb as High as $5 Million
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL â€“ Gulfstreamâ€™s spring stakes schedule kicks off Saturday with a three-stake slate headlined by the $100,000 Miami Mile (G3), set to be run at Gulfstream for the first time in its 28-year history.
The 11-race card also includes the $75,000 Powder Break Stakes as well as the $60,000 Tarpon, an overnight handicap for 3-year-olds. The three events will be held in conjunction with Saturdayâ€™s Rainbow 6 mandatory payout, which, if the popular multi-race wager is not hit before then, could offer a jackpot upwards of $5 million.
The Miami Mile lured a field of 11 runners, including the Christophe Clement-trained Middleburg, who enters the race off a 3/4-length score in an upper level allowance at Gulfstream on March 29, his first start in more than five months. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid is seeking his third straight victory and will make his stakes debut Saturday in the mile turf event for owners Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone. A model of consistency, the chestnut has never finished off the board in 12 career starts.
â€œHe came out of his last race in good order. The horse is doing well,â€ Clement said. â€œHeâ€™s always been a very honest type of horse. He tries very hard. I think we gave him enough time to avoid the bounce after his last race.â€
Jose Lezcano, currently based at Keeneland, is set to fly in from Lexington for the day to ride Middleburg in the Miami Mile. The 30-year-old Panamanian native has piloted the horse in nine of his 12 career starts, including three of his four lifetime victories.
â€œJose Lezcano rode him quite a lot â€“ many, many times â€“ in New York,â€ Clement said. â€œHe knows the horse very well, and I was able to secure him to come back [to Florida] to ride the horse this weekend. Iâ€™m excited about it.â€
Clement also entered Red Vine, winner of his last two starts at Aqueduct, in the Miami Mile as a main track only participant.
Middleburgâ€™s most formidable challenge could come from Grupo 7C Racing Stableâ€™s Grand Tito. The 5-year-old son of Candy Ride had a stellar Championship Meeting at Gulfstream, notching graded-stakes placings in the Appleton (G3), Canadian Turf (G3), and Fort Lauderdale (G2). In the Fort Lauderdale, the Gustavo Delgado trainee came a neck from victory behind Mshawish, who would go on to win the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in his next start on Feb. 7.
The Miami Mile field also includes the George Weaver-trained Shatak, who has won three of four career starts at Gulfstream, including a 1-mile allowance on April 3 in his first start since December; Storming Inti, a three-time stakes winner who returned from a six-month layoff to finish fourth in an allowance at Gulfstream on March 7; the graded stakes-placed Adios Nardo; and Inchcape, an impressive allowance winner on March 7. McIlroy, Rerun, Hammers Terror, and Sette E Mezzo round out the field.
Fillies and mares will get their turn at a turf mile in the Powder Break Stakes, and Clement has another top contender in Patricia A. Generazioâ€™s Discreet Marq. The 5-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat will make her seasonal debut in the Powder Break. A New York-bred, she captured the 2013 Del Mar Oaks (G1) and has placed in five other Grade 1 events (three of them in 2014), but she has not run since finishing third in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar last November. Clement hopes the Powder Break will set his charge up well for another successful campaign this year.
â€œSheâ€™s been training remarkably well,â€ Clement said.â€œSheâ€™s a top-class filly, a lovely mare. Sheâ€™s a top-class miler. I could run her anywhere at a mile.â€
Also entered in the Powder Break are: Baffle Me, runner-up in the 7 Â½-furlong South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 13; recent allowance winner Charlie A; Double Secret, winner of the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January; the Marty Wolfson-trained duo of E B Ryder and Loriâ€™s Store; and U. S. S. Oâ€™Brien, winner of the Golden Beach overnight handicap on Dec. 10. The Powder Break will be U. S. S. Oâ€™Brienâ€™s turf debut.
Rosedale Arch, Big N Toasty, Surtsey, Tempestâ€™s Flash, and Montana Native (MTO) complete the field.
Capping the day will be the Tarpon, an overnight handicap for 3-year-olds in which the highly regarded colt Mr. Jordan will make his second start off a four-month layoff after injuring a check ligament and undergoing surgery last December. The flashy gray returned from the time off to finish second to the undefeated Competitive Edge in the Tamarac Stakes at Gulfstream on March 27. The Tamarac was the son of Kantharosâ€™ first career defeat. He previously ran off to easy victories in the Smooth Air and Juvenile Sprint stakes at Gulfstream Park West after breaking his maiden at Monmouth Park last summer.
My Point Exactly, winner of the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs who finished seventh in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 28, was also entered in the Tarpon, a mile event on the main track. The field also includes the stakes-placed Royal Squeeze; and Fastidiaâ€™s Sun, whoâ€™s on a two-race win streak at Gulfstream. Cool Man Walkin, Dekabrist, and Renombre round out the field.
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