Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out ‘live’ contenders in all four of Saturday's stakes at Gulfstream Park. That includes the $225,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) when he saddles Marie and Aaron Jones’ undefeated 4-year-old Half Ours with John Velazquez aboard.
The seven-furlong Richter Scale will be the biggest career test yet for Half Ours after an impressive allowance tally over the track on Feb. 4.
A $625,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Half Ours won both of his starts as a 2-year-old in 2005, including the Three Chimneys Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. However, the roan/gray son of Unbridled’s Song didn’t run again until a hard-fought allowance victory in December. With the recent Gulfstream effort since, he has won four in a row.
Puglisi Stable and Steve Klesaris’ Diabolical, to be ridden by Mario Pino, and Carolyn Bruder’s Bright One, with Mark Guidry aboard, are 4-year-olds that made news at different points during the 2006 season. They make their return in the field of 10 set for the Richter Scale.
Diabolical is a chestnut son of Artax trained by Klesaris, last seen finishing a game second in the DeFrancis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park on Nov. 25, three-quarters of a length behind TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Thor’s Echo, who would be voted Eclipse champion.
Bright One is a chestnut son of Dance Brightly trained by Dale Romans that made a big impression winning the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Park by nearly six lengths in early August. Bright One disappointed later in the season when unplaced in the Indiana Derby (gr. II) and Clark Handicap (gr. I) last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
Completing the field for the Richter Scale are Peter Congolesi’s Slam Bammy, Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Nar, IEAH Stable and partners’ Dark Cheetah, Joseph Allen’s Ecclesiastic, Char-Mari Stable’s Park Avenue Ball, Rustlewood Farm’s Mach Ride and Ryan Haynes’ Little Thunder.
$225,000 Richter Scale Breeders Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II, 4:54 p.m., Race 9), 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Slam Bammy (ON), 114, Rajiv Maragh
2. Diabolical (KY), 118, Mario G. Pino
3. Bright One (KY), 117, Mark Guidry
4. Nar (FL), 114, Javier Castellano
5. Dark Cheetah (PA), 115, Edgar S. Prado
6. Ecclesiastic (KY), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
7. Half Ours (KY), 117, John R. Velazquez
8. Park Avenue Ball (NJ), 119, Christopher P. DeCarlo
9. Mach Ride (FL), 114, Elvis Trujillo
10. Little Thunder (FL), 113, Eddie Castro