Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's 4-year-old Bandini makes his second start of the season in Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park.
A field of eight takes part in the Skip Away, one of six stakes – including three graded events – on the Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out probable favorite Bandini following an impressive allowance score at Gulfstream March 1 in his first start since finishing up the track in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last spring. John Velazquez has the call.
Bandini was a major player going down the Derby trail early last year, winning two races at Gulfstream and finishing a game second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). Prior to his 19th-place run in the Kentucky Derby, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus
won the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland by six lengths.
My Meadowview Farm's 4-year-old Noble Causeway also is a veteran of last spring's Kentucky Derby, finishing 14th. He makes his third start at Gulfstream this season in the Skip Away with Jeremy Rose aboard for trainer Nick Zito.
A son of Giant's Causeway
, Noble Causeway ran at Gulfstream four times last year, winning two and finishing second in the Florida Derby. He has finished second in one allowance and captured another at the current meet after completing his 3-year-old campaign with a sixth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
In another race on the Gulfstream card, Edward P. Evans' 7-year-old gelding Gygistar returns for another season as the best known of seven older horses entered in the $100,000 Artax Handicap at 7½ furlongs. Javier Castellano is aboard the millionaire campaigner.
Trained by Mark Hennig, Gygistar makes his first start since finishing third behind Purge in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 26. The chestnut son of Prospector's Music
finished second in the Artax last year before capturing the Westchester Mile (gr. III) at Belmont Park in his next start.$100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III, Race 11, 5:07 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. We Can Seek (CHI), 113, Rafael Bejarano
2. Bandini (KY), 117, John Velazquez
3. Noble Causeway (KY), 114, Jeremy Rose
4. O'Connell's (BRZ), 114, Manoel Cruz
5. Network (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
6. Zoffinger (KY), 112, Edwin King, Jr.
7. Whos Crying Now (FL), 115, Cornelio Velasquez
8. Contante (ARG), 114, Edgar Prado