Turf Fillies Paint the Town in $75,000 Melody of Colors
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – With Uncle B’s solid record on synthetic surfaces, the colt’s trainer, Nicholas Gonzalez, has been looking for the right spot to try him on the grass. The opportunity has now presented itself, courtesy of the $75,000 Texas Glitter at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Lucio Tucci and Martha K. Gonzalez’ Uncle B is among nine 3-year-olds entered in the five-furlong Texas Glitter.
A son of Zensational, Uncle B is fresh off a three-length victory over six rivals in the $50,000 OBS Sprint Stakes at the Ocala Training Center Jan. 24. After establishing the early pace, Uncle B went on to set a six-furlong track record of 1:08.60 over the synthetic surface.
“It was a very competitive field, but we had the outside post  position and that was in our favor,” Gonzalez said. “He kind of had control of the race the whole way because of his natural speed. I told Luis Saez that day, ‘You’ve got a great post; take advantage of it.’ I think because he had those good races at Woodbine on our synthetic track in Canada he had an edge over some of the other horses that day in Ocala. He was impressive in the way he did it. Saez still had horse left — and to set a track record — we couldn’t have been happier with the performance.”
Uncle B, who sold for $25,000 at OBS as a 2-year-old, broke his maiden in October over Woodbine’s synthetic surface in his second career start. He then followed with a close-up second in Woodbine’s Swynford Stakes in November. In his only start at Gulftream Park, Uncle B checked in fifth in the slop in December’s Buffalo Man Stakes, a race that Gonzalez said he has “written off as trainer error”, blaming himself for running the horse back too quickly following the Swynford.
“The timing for this race is good with the four weeks in between,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve always wanted to try him on turf; he’s out of an Honour and Glory mare. There is turf breeding there. The distance should suit him. He’s a naturally quick horse. He’s always been prominent pace-wise in his races. We’re really happy with how he is coming into the race.”
Luis Saez, the current leading rider at the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet, has the return call on Uncle B, who drew post 3.
White Smoke, who is trained, owned and bred by Luis Duco, will be a longshot as he steps into stakes competition for the first time, following a professional-looking win against maidens in a five-furlong turf race Feb. 5. That win came in his second career start and his first on the turf.
“He was a different horse when he got on the turf,” Duco said. “Maybe there are some other horses in the field with stakes experience, but the others are same as me, so let’s see what my horse can do.”
White Smoke will be paired with jockey Jorge Ruiz, who has been doing well with limited opportunities at Gulfstream Park. Of the 14 races Ruiz has thus far won at the Championship Meet, eight were with Duco and many produced double-digit payoffs.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Squadron looks to bounce back from a seventh-place finish in the 7 1/2-furlong Dania Beach (G3) Jan. 7. In November at Gulfstream Park West, the son of Midshipman rolled to a 3 1/4-length victory in the Juvenile Turf Stakes in his second career start.
Javier Castellano will ride Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Squadron from post 2.
The Kelly Breen-trained Derek’s Smile returns to the turf after being eased in the Swale Stakes (G2). The son of Brother Derek is looking to recapture the form that saw him win an allowance optional claimer on the turf at Gulfstream in December.
The field is completed by Apache Brave, Francesco Appeal, Jersey Street, Santini and Tres Huevos.
Attyia and Unaquoi Headliners in $75,000 Melody of Colors
Attyia, with her back-to-back wins on the turf, and Unaquoi, whose early speed can be lethal on her opponents, are the headliners in the $75,000 Melody of Colors, a five-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Jason Servis, Al and Michelle Crawford Racing’s Attyia is 2 for 2 on the turf following wins in a maiden race at The Meadowlands in October and an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park Dec. 21.
Paco Lopez will ride the daughter of Dialed In who exits the gate from post 7 in the 10-horse field.
Charles Town stakes winner Unaquoi is a front-runner who drew the rail here. Trained by Ollie Figgins III, Unaquoi won her sole turf start by capturing a 5 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer at Laurel Park in November. The daughter of Gattopardo set rapid fractions en route to a 2 1/4-length score.
Kevin Gomez, a finalist in the 2016 Eclipse Award voting for top apprentice of 2017, has the mount.
Trainer Ian Wilkes is hoping Fields of Song, who finished last in her U.S. debut, the Ginger Brew Stakes, here last month, takes a giant leap forward. Wilkes thought the European import, who won two of five starts in England, was going to run well that day. Nothing, however, clicked for the daughter of Harbour Watch.
“She didn’t like the person standing up in the gate with her, as Joe [Bravo] said,” Wilkes said. “She broke a little tardily. He asked her a little bit and then she just began to run off and when she did that she didn’t negotiate the turns. Nothing went to plan. It was a learning experience for both of us. She’s trained well since that race.”
Corey Lanerie has been named to ride Fields of Song, who drew post 2.
Rounding out the field is Consulting, Grizzel, Irish Fix, Morticia, La Zoraya, Richie’s Sister and Somebody To Love.