Gygistar makes his eagerly anticipated return to the races in Sunday's $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Gygistar completed an undefeated, though injury shortened, 3-year-old season last year with a three-length win in King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) and won two races at Gulfstream Park last year by a combined 13 1/2 lengths, including a 10 1/2-length romp in the listed Hallandale Beach Handicap in April. His lone career defeat came as a juvenile in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes.
"I was getting ready to run him in the Breeders' Cup Sprint," trainer Mark Hennig said. "A couple of days before the race he ripped his foot (right front) apart in his stall. We had to wait and let nature take its course after that."
Deputy Minister starter Maybry's Boy also made some noise at the last Gulfstream meet, winning the Spectacular Bid Stakes (gr. III) before turning in lackluster performances in both the Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth Stakes. The Broad Brush colt is now trained by George Weaver and defeated fellow Deputy Minister starter Greatness in an allowance race when last out.
Trainer Paul McGee sends out Deer Lake, the only horse to defeat Boston Brat at this meet. Since that Jan. 5 race, Boston Brat has gone on to break the five-furlong track record and equal the 5 1/2-furlong mark. Deer Lake is undefeated at the South Florida oval from two races and has won five of nine career races. The Deputy Minister marks the first stakes start for the 4-year-old son of Meadowlake.
"Paul was thinking of running both Deer Lake and Dream Run in the Deputy Minister, but a couple days ago decided to run only Deer Lake," said Randy Martin, assistant to McGee. "We worked Deer Lake five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on Sunday and he's ready. He really likes the track at Gulfstream and has won both his outings over it."
The field for the 6 1/2-furlong sprint will consist of:
1 -- Najran, Eibar Coa, 115
2 -- Deer Lake, Jorge Chavez, 112
3 -- Gygistar, John Velazquez, 120
4 -- Fire and Glory, Gary Boulanger, 112
5 -- Greatness, Edgar Prado, 111
6 -- Elite Mercedes, Pat Day, 115
7 -- Harmony Hall, Mark Guidry, 112
8 -- Native Heir, Cornelio Velasquez
9 -- Binthebest, Rene Douglas, 115
10 -- Maybry's Boy, Jose Santos, 112