Forefathers May Be 'Big Daddy' in Hutcheson

Zayat Stable’s Forefathers has shown considerable promise for trainer Nick Zito, finishing a game second to Adore the Gold in the Swale Stakes (gr. II) last out, and he takes a big step toward becoming a major player in the 3-year division by facing eight rivals in a wide-open renewal of the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) with Manoel Cruz getting a return call.

The Hutcheson, run at 7 ½ furlongs, goes as the seventh race on the card at Gulfstream Park and is one of four graded stakes on the program, highlighted by the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs.

A son of  Gone Westout of the Lord At War mare Star of Goshen, Forefathers was a $680,000 Saratoga yearling purchase. He made an inauspicious seventh-place debut on turf at Lingfield in England last August and was soon sent to Zito in New York. He broke his maiden in his first U.S. start, Nov. 23 at Calder, going six furlongs, then cruised in the slop going wire-to-wire in a six-furllong optional claiming/allowance race Dec. 26 at Calder. Then came the Swale. Adore the Gold will run in the Fountain of Youth.

Forefathers was bred in Kentucky by Cobra Farm.

Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has won the last four runnings of the Hutcheson and will try to "Triple Team" the race this year. Last year he saddled eventual Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) starter Keyed Entry to victory in the Hutcheson over heavy favorite First Samurai.

Jockey John Velazquez has ridden all four of Pletcher's Hutcheson winners and this year has opted to ride Out of Gwedda, the beaten favorite last time out in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Jan. 7. The winner that day, Buffalo Man, went on to win the OBS Championship Stakes at the Ocala Training Center, but suffered an injury earlier this week and is now off the Triple Crown trail.

A winner at Belmont in his first two starts last year, Out of Gwedda was bred in Kentucky by James H. Heyward and is a son of Out of Place out of the Gone Westmare Gwedda. Last July, he wired the field in the 5 ½-furlong Tremont Stakes in New York as the 1-5 favorite. He is owned by Pegasus Dream Stable.

Pletcher’s most accomplished starter is Team Valor Stable’s King of the Roxy. Edgar Prado has the mount. The son of Littleexpectations—Marrakesh, by Bold Forbes, scored his biggest victory winning the Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont in September. He has not started since finishing eighth in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr .I) on Nov. 4.

The Ohio-bred has put together a steady string of works at the Palm Meadows Training Center. His last move, following a five furlong bullet work Feb. 20 in 1:00 1/5 for five furlongs, was a 1:02 4/5 work Feb. 25.

Pletcher's other runner is Padua Stables' Air Lord, who has not started since finishing second to Adore the Gold in the $100,000 Dover Stakes at Delawre Park Oct. 21.
 
Not to be left out of the mix is late-running Storm in May, one of three Triple Crown trail contenders for trainer Bill Kaplan. A Florida-bred son of Tiger Ridge—Laun Shaw, by Relaunch, Storm in May won the six-furlong Sunshine Millions Dash Jan. 27, coming from 11th after the opening quarter to win the $300,000 race by a 1 ¼ lengths. The versatile colt has wins from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles and has won on both dirt and turf.

Kaplan also trains Drums of Thunder (again, running in the Fountain of Youth, and Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Imawildandcrazyguy.

$150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II, Race 7, 3:54 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Forefathers (KY), 116, Manoel R. Cruz
2. Bold Start (KY), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
3. Storm in May (FL), 120, Javier Castellano
4. Finallymadeit (FL), 116, Eduardo O. Nunez
5. Reata's Rocket (ON), 116, Rajiv Maragh
6. Spin Master (KY),     116, Mark Guidry
7. Air Lord (FL), 116, Christopher P. DeCarlo
8. King of the Roxy (OH), 120, Edgar S. Prado
9. Out of Gwedda (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez

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