Juvenile graded stakes winners Proud Accolade, Park Avenue Ball, and Defer square off as part of a small field for Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, but lightly raced Devil at Sea could be the surprise package.
A field of six is on tap for the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson, one of the first graded tests of the season for 3-year-olds.
Devil at Sea, a son of Devil His Due
making his third career start for trainer George Weaver, was a 10 1/2-length winner in his maiden victory. Jose Santos rides the Maryland-bred colt.
Proud Accolade, the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner, seeks to atone for a disappointing fifth-place showing in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) that closed out his 2-year-old campaign. Proud Accolade was also unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last fall for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher and Eclipse-winning jockey John Velazquez have won three Hutchesons in the past five years, including the last two with Lion Tamer in 2003 and Limehouse in 2004.
A winner of three straight one-turn races to start his career – including a half-length win over Afleet Alex in the Oct. 9 Champagne – Proud Accolade will be cutting back to that trip in the Hutcheson.
Defer won the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) Nov. 20 at Pimlico for trainer Shug McGaughey. Jerry Bailey will ride Saturday. Futurity Stakes (gr. II) victor Park Avenue Ball makes his first start since finishing fifth in the Champagne for conditioner James Ryerson.$150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), 3-year-olds, 7 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Proud Accolade, 120, John Velazquez
2. Carson's Bridge, 118, Cornelio Velasquez
3. Vicarage, 118, Christopher DeCarlo
4. Park Avenue Ball, 120, Javier Castellano
5. Devil At Sea, 116, Jose Santos
6. Defer, 120, Jerry Bailey