Herman Heinlein’s gelding Soldier’s Dancer is the most accomplished of seven 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park and should rule as a strong choice in the 1 1/8-mile turf test with leading rider Cornelio Velasquez getting the return call.
A roan/gray son of Lost Soldier trained by Dave Vivian, Soldier’s Dancer finished fourth last out as the favorite in the Hallandale Beach Stakes over the course on Feb. 24, although beaten only three lengths for it all with some trouble in the race. Soldier’s Dancer had won two of three previous tries on turf, including the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) at Calder on New Year’s Day.
David and Teresa Palmer’s Storm in May figures to be the second choice for trainer Bill Kaplan with Manoel Cruz aboard. Storm in May comes back to the turf after sprinting in stakes on the main track in his last two starts. Storm in May posted a 26-1 upset in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream on Jan. 27, but was a disappointing sixth last out in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) on Mar. 3.
Storm in May showed a liking for turf, winning two of five over the Calder course and finishing a respectable third behind Soldier’s Dancer in the Tropical Park Derby after dueling for the lead past the eighth pole.
Another contender in the Palm Beach will be Andrew Farm’s Duveen with jockey Mark Guidry in the saddle. Trained by Dale Romans, the son of Horse Chestnut finished a close second in his turf debut at Gulfstream on opening day Jan. 3 after three main track outings in New York last year. Duveen was impressive breaking his maiden over the course on Feb. 21 by 4 1/4 lengths.
$150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 3:54 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Mashala (KY), 116, Jose Alberto Rivera, II
2. Duveen (KY), 118, Mark Guidry
3. Storm in May (FL), 120, Manoel R. Cruz
4. One of the Best (FL), 116, Elvis Trujillo
5. Brainy Benny (IRE), 116, Eddie Castro
6. Soldier's Dancer (FL), 122, Cornelio H. Velasquez
7. Brooklyn's Smart (KY), 118, Christopher P. DeCarlo