3YO Stakes Series Kicks Off at Gulfstream
Three-year-olds, both males and females, get their first chance to face stakes competition at Gulfstream Park in 2010 when they run a pair of six-furlong sprints Jan. 9. The boys will go in the ungraded Spectacular Bid Stakes, while the girls face off in the grade III Old Hat Stakes—both of them carrying $100,000 purses on the main track.
The Spectacular Bid drew a field of nine and is led by 120-pound high weight Westover Wildcat, winner of the Bold Lad Stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 25. Westover Wildcat, trained by Tony Dutrow and to be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, finished fifth in the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga this summer, one start after breaking his maiden at the Spa. The son of Forest Wildcat is a homebred of Samuel Bayard.
Dutrow will also send out Edward Evans’ homebred A Little Warm, a 10 3/4-length maiden winner Nov. 23 at Philadelphia Park in his fourth try. The Stormin Fever colt will break from post 9 under Jeremy Rose.
Also in the field are Call Shot, an allowance winner at Keeneland in October for Wayne Catalano and sixth-place finisher in the Iroquois (gr. III) at Churchill Downs the following month; Futurity (gr. II) and Champagne (gr. I) runner-up Discreetly Mine , who makes his first start for Todd Pletcher after moving from the barn of Stanley Hough; and Grand Times, a Greatness colt owned and trained by Wesley Ward. Grand Times enters off two consecutive wins, including a two-length allowance score at Tampa Bay Downs Dec. 12.
Ward won last year’s Spectacular Bid with Notonthesamepage, who rolled to an 8 1/4-length victory in 1:08.48 while narrowly missing the track record.
The 3-year-old series at Gulfstream continues on Jan. 23 with the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III).
The Old Hat, which goes as the last of five stakes on the "Gulfstream Sprint Showcase" program, drew a field off 11. Of the 11, seven fillies come in with undefeated résumés. Most impressive amongst the unbeaten may be another Dutrow trainee, Cuff Me, who has been much the best in three starts—all of them in New York.
Cuff Me, by Officer, broke his maiden by more than six lengths in June, then came back off a freshening to score by 13 1/4 lengths in a six-furlong allowance race at Belmont in October. Last out, she went wire-to-wire in the Silent Turn Stakes at Aqueduct Dec. 4 to win by two lengths. Dominguez will keep the mount.
Also undefeated stakes winners looking to stay perfect are My Jen, who won the Letellier Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Dec. 19 for Eddie Kenneally; Female Drama, winner of the Belmont’s Wings of Jove Stakes in October for Pletcher; and Carphonic, who won the restricted Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes for Florida-breds in November at Calder.
Leading Florida trainer Marty Wolfson is also in with a good chance with undefeated Dances With Ashley, a four-length allowance winner at Calder last month. Julien Leparoux will stay aboard the Wildcat Heir filly.
$100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes (Race 5, 3:07 p.m.), 3YO, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
$100,000 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 5:08 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
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