Well-established veteran turf campaigners Honor in War and Silverfoot will be among the favorites in Sunday's $100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan gets a return call on 3rd Turn Stables' Honor in War for trainer Paul McGee, and Rafael Bejarano rejoins Stephanie Clark's Silverfoot for trainer Dallas Stewart in the 1 3/8-mile turf test, which drew a full field of 12 older horses.
The Mac Diarmida is named for the 1978 Eclipse champion turf horse trained by Scotty Schulhofer. The race serves well as a tune-up for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) going 1 7/16 miles over the course Feb. 25.
The 7-year-old Honor in War is a chestnut horse by Lord at War who won the Fort Lauderdale Handicap over the course, going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 8 with a determined rally in the final furlong. It was his first start since a victory in a Churchill Downs allowance in late November.
Trained by Paul McGee, Honor in War has won 10 of 31 career starts for earnings of $1,123,878 with his most important victory coming in the 2003 Turf Classic (gr. IT) on Derby weekend at Churchill Downs, his home track for most of the year.
Silverfoot is a 6-year-old roan/gray gelding by With Approval
who has won eight of 17 career starts, including two of three at 11 furlongs. He finished a close-up second to Better Talk Now in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park last summer in his last try at the Mac Diarmida's distance.
Silverfoot won the 12-furlong Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs by 6 ¾ lengths in late September, encouraging his connections to try him in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Belmont Park in late October. He finished a respectable sixth.
In his lone start since the Breeders' Cup, Silverfoot finished fifth in the 1 1/2-mile W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder Dec. 17, beaten only two lengths by grade I winner Meteor Storm in a deep field.
Haras du Mezeray's 5-year-old French-bred mare Lune d'Or makes her second American start. Christophe Clement trains her with jockey Brice Blanc getting the call.
The daughter of Green Tune was a group II winner in France as a 3-year-old in 2004 and finished a respectable seventh in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) at the end of that season, beaten less than five lengths by Japan's Horse of the Year Zenno Rob Roy.
Lune d'Or was sent to Clement in the fall. In her only start since then, she finished a troubled sixth in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Oct. 1, when beaten only four lengths for it all.$100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 4:44 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Everything to Gain (KY), 112, Mark Guidry
2. Ramazutti (MD), 111, Christopher DeCarlo
3. Lune d'Or (FR), 112, Brice Blanc
4. Silverfoot (KY), 117, Rafael Bejarano
5. We Can Seek (CHI), 112, Eddie Castro
6. Honor in War (KY), 118, Shaun Bridgmohan
7. Go Deputy (KY), 112, John Velazquez
8. Hotstufanthensome (KY), 117, Rajiv Maragh
9. Rousing Victory (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
10. Request for Parole (KY), 113, Edgar Prado
11. Wood Be Willing (KY), 112, Mike Smith
12. Rumor Has It (KY), 112, Chantal SutherlandAlso Eligible
13. Ready for Roses (OH), 111, Jeremy Rose
14. Indiantown Jones (KY), 111, Nik Goodwin