It isn't often when trainer Tom Albertrani sends a horse yet to break his maiden into a graded stakes race, but the promising colt Hemsworth convinced him otherwise. The resulting 9 1/2-length romp in the Nashua (G2) Nov. 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack confirmed Albertrani's faith and left him excited about what might be in store during the Bernardini colt's 3-year-old season.
Two months later, Godolphin Racing's Hemsworth is set to kick off his sophomore campaign in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park Jan. 7. The sixth running of the one-mile event for 3-year-olds is one of four stakes, two graded, worth $400,000 in purse earnings on the 11-race program.
Among Gulfstream's series of sophomore stakes leading up to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 1, the Mucho Macho Man is joined by the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3T) at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, also for 3-year-olds; the $100,000 Old Hat (G3) at six furlongs, and $100,000 Ginger Brew at 7 1/2 furlongs on grass, the latter two both for 3-year-old fillies.
Hemsworth didn't get started until late July and ran fourth in his first two career starts, finishing behind horses such as subsequent grade 3 winner Theory and Bonus Points, who would go on to be multiple graded-stakes placed, including a runner-up effort in the one-mile Jerome (G2) Jan. 2. He broke on the lead in the Nashua, also at one mile, and extended his advantage at each call to win in front-running fashion over his three rivals.
BLOODHORSE STAFF: Hemsworth Breaks Maiden in Nashua Stakes
"He really ran huge. I know it was a small field, but we always thought this horse had a lot of potential. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think otherwise to run him in a grade 2 as a maiden," Albertrani said. "But the way the race was shaping up it was certainly worth the risk of running him in there. We decided to take our chance and see if he would run well and he really showed that he did.
"When you see one run like that, you start getting a little pumped up and start getting a little excited about having a nice horse in the barn like that. Just the way he ran, he really did it quite easily not knowing how strong a field he really beat that day. It was just the way he did it that gave us a lot of hope thinking that he could be a nice horse for us this coming year."
Being a son of multiple grade 1 winner Bernardini, who Albertrani trained to the 3-year-old male championship of 2006, Hemsworth arrived with high expectations and didn't disappoint, from his looks to his training.
"Right from the start when he first came to us, we always thought he was a horse that had a lot of potential," he said. "Conformation-wise he's a beautiful looking horse and in his works he always put out more than the others, and the fact that he's by Bernardini didn't hurt. There's some good qualifications there."
Hemsworth drew the far outside post in a field of 11 and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione at highweight of 122 pounds.
"The first time he ran he made a big move late and we thought once we stretched him out he would just have one late run in him, but the last time he ran he did it on the lead," Albertrani said. "Right now I think we're still learning a lot about him from race to race, being that he only ran three times and the last race was a really small field.
"I think there's still a lot of potential and a lot of maturing still left there. Hopefully he'll continue to do well. This race would be the next progression. Hopefully he'll start this year where he left off last year and make it to the Derby trail, maybe."
Besides Hemsworth, Godolphin will have another Mucho Macho Man contender in Cavil, an Elusive Quality gelding making his stakes debut. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, he was off the board in his Oct. 3 debut going seven furlongs on turf, then went gate to wire to win by 5 1/2 lengths in an off-the-turf one-mile maiden event Dec. 2 at Aqueduct.
"We weren't sure if he was dirt or turf, and he won easy and was impressive. We shipped him down here and pointing for the Mucho Macho Man," McLaughlin said. "He needs racing and we're learning about him and just how good he is. It's going to be tough going from a maiden to a stake but he timing is good for him and we hope that he's good enough."
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, January 07, 2017, Race 10
- 3 yo
- 4:34 PM (local)
|1||1Perro Rojo (KY)||Nik Juarez||116||Nicholas P. Zito||20/1|
|2||2Sweetontheladies (FL)||Marcos Meneses||120||Henry Collazo||20/1|
|3||3Talk Logistics (FL)||Paco Lopez||116||Edward Plesa, Jr.||10/1|
|4||4Even Thunder (KY)||Joe Bravo||120||Joseph F. Orseno||10/1|
|5||5Skyler's Scramjet (KY)||Joel Rosario||116||Michael Mareina||5/1|
|6||6Cavil (KY)||John R. Velazquez||116||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||9/2|
|7||7Han Sense (IA)||Luis Saez||120||Michael J. Maker||15/1|
|8||8Sonic Mule (KY)||Javier Castellano||120||Todd A. Pletcher||6/1|
|9||9Recruiting Ready (KY)||Edgar S. Prado||116||Horacio DePaz||6/1|
|10||10State of Honor (ON)||Julien R. Leparoux||116||Mark E. Casse||15/1|
|11||11Hemsworth (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||122||Thomas Albertrani||7/2|