Hobeau Farm’s homebred Blue Bullet has the look of a potential star for trainer Allen Jerkens in Saturday's $175,000 Aventura Stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park, where he faces eight rivals with leading Gulfstream jockey Cornelio Velasquez aboard.
The son of Red Bullet bids for his third victory in as many career starts after winning both of his efforts at this meet going wire-to-wire, the last by eight lengths in an allowance race on Feb. 19.
Jerkens said he spent five weeks of deliberation and weather-watching before deciding to keep Blue Bullet at Gulfstream for the Aventura, one of four stakes on the Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard.
“I was still mulling it over yesterday,” said Jerkens Thursday morning just after putting his colt's name into the entry box for the seven-furlong sophomore sprint. “My main worry would be that it was a really hot day, but you can't have everything.”
Blue Bullet has been training swiftly in South Florida in the five weeks since his impressive allowance score. Jerkens was hopeful of a second-level allowance race materializing on Mar. 15, but was forced to decide between the Aventura and the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Apr. 7.
“We're here already and he worked well the other day when it was hot,” said Jerkens. “It's not going to be easy here, but the race up there is probably going to be tough too. There are reasons to do both, but staying here makes a little more sense.”
A solid threat in the race should be R. Larry Johnson’s Street Magician, who finished third behind Blue Bullet when both made their career debuts on Jan. 27. A son of Street Cry, Street Magician came back to romp home an eight-length winner in his second start on Feb. 10 for trainer Michael Trombetta. He is the slight 5-2 morning line choice over the stakes-winning Green Vegas, who ran third in the Spectacular Bid over the Gulfstream layout in January.
Completing the field for the Aventura are Don McNeil and Everett Dobson’s Our Sacred Honor, Edgar Prado; Luis Oliveres’ Green Vegas, Victor Espinoza; Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Silver Source, Manny Cruz; Trilogy Stables’ Yesbyjimminy, Rene Douglas; Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing’s Finallymadeit, Eduardo Nunez; James Steil’s James Wilfred, Joe Bravo; and Charles Mayer’s Dippi Trippi, Ramon Dominguez.
$175,000 Aventura Stakes (Race 8, 3:48 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Our Sacred Honor (KY), Edgar S. Prado, 116, 6/1
2. Green Vegas (FL), Victor Espinoza, 122, 3/1
3. Silver Source (KY), Manoel R. Cruz, 116, 6/1
4. Yesbyjimminy (FL), Rene R. Douglas, 120, 5/1
5. Finallymadeit (FL), Eduardo O. Nunez, 116, 30/1
6. James Wilfred (FL), Ramon A. Dominguez, 116, 20/1
7. Blue Bullet (FL), Cornelio H. Velasquez, 116, 6/1
8. Street Magician (KY), Rafael Bejarano, 116, 5/2
9. Dippi Trippi (FL), Elvis Trujillo, 116, 12/1