Perretti Racing Stable's highly regarded Forty Tales heads a group of 13 sophomores who stay sprinting—at least for now—in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) March 2 at Gulfstream Park.
Forty Tales closed with a furious rush but fell a half-length short of Honorable Dillon in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) a month ago. He will get another chance going the same seven-furlong distance against the likes of Are You Kidding Me, Merit Man, Tulira Castle, and Clearly Now. The Swale is race 10 on the card with an approximate post time of 5:35 p.m. EST.
Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano gets the call on Forty Tales from post 10 as part of a 117-pound impost. The Tale of the Cat
colt, purchased for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton 2011 Kentucky select yearling sale, won his two previous starts impressively for trainer Todd Pletcher. His victories included a Nov. 24 debut at Aqueduct Racetrack
by 2 3/4 lengths and a Jan. 5 allowance at Parx Racing
by 3 3/4 lengths.
An accomplished contender making his season debut in the Swale will be Ronald Kirk, John Bates. and partners' Are You Kidding Me, with Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado aboard for trainer Roger Attfield. The Kentucky homebred by Run Away and Hide makes his first start since a close-up fifth-place finish behind Joha in the Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 6, beaten 2 1/2 lengths for it all.
"He had some poor racing luck in some of his races last year, including the Breeders' Futurity when he didn't get a clean run," Attfield remarked. "He missed a little time as did some other horses that got sick up here, but he's over that and done very well training since then. It's time for him to get started. He did run well in a couple of sprints at Woodbine
last year, but I think his future will probably be going a distance. I think he's a very promising prospect."
Curtis Green's Kentucky homebred Tulira Castle will bid to bounce back from a disappointing effort Jan. 26 when eased in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III). That race followed a very good 2 1/2-length allowance victory from the War Pass
colt going a mile over the track Dec. 8 for trainer Jim DiVito.
"He had a case of the 'thumps' from a reaction to Lasix," said Divito, referring to the condition resulting from an electrolyte imbalance in a horse's body caused by heat and/or dehydration. Medically known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, the condition affects heart rate and breathing.
"They don't suffer any long-term effects and there are things you can do to prevent it from recurring," Divito explained. "Basically, we're turning back (in distance) and starting all over again with him."
Bruce Chandler and partners' Merit Man will likely get solid support despite a somewhat disappointing performance last out when fourth in the Hutcheson. The $75,000 OBS April 2-year-olds in training purchase had been nearly perfect in four previous starts for trainer Bob Hess Jr.. He won his debut at Del Mar
in early September, took the Tim Conway Stakes at Santa Anita Park
by 5 1/2 lengths in early October, and lost by a nose in the final steps as the favorite in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Nov. 2.
In one start before the Hutcheson at Gulfstream this winter, the son of With Distinction won the Spectacular Bid Stakes going six furlongs on New Year's Day. From post 2, jockey Kent Desormeaux gets aboard the son of With Distinction for the first time.
An intriguing prospect in the Swale is Up Hill Stable's Clearly Now with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle for trainer Brian Lynch. The Kentucky-bred by Horse Greeley
finished a distant third last out in the Holy Bull going 1 1/16 miles Jan. 26 behind Itsmyluckyday
and Shanghai Bobby
in his first start of the season.
Clearly Now made three starts last year at Woodbine
, winning a pair of sprints and finishing third in the $150,000 Display Stakes going 1 1/16 miles Dec. 1.
"I just don't think he's ready for two turns against the kind of horses he would have to face down here this winter," said Lynch "Maybe he'll stretch out when we get back to Toronto and matures a little later this year. In the meantime, I think turning back to seven furlongs for this race will be ideal for him."
New England Patriot wide receiver Wes Welker's gelding Undrafted
ran a huge race to finish third in the Hutcheson for trainer Wesley Ward, and comes back in the Swale with jockey Julio Garcia in the saddle breaking from the rail. The son of Purim
won a one-mile turf allowance early in the meet and finished third in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day before the Hutcheson.
$150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, approximate post 5:35 p.m. EST), 3YOs, 7 furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Undrafted (KY), J.A. Garcia, 117, W A Ward
2. Merit Man (FL), K.J. Desormeaux, 121, R B Hess, Jr.
3. Little Distorted (KY), J. Bravo, 117, M D Wolfson
4. Dighton (FL), M.R. Cruz, 117, J Cintron, Jr.
5. Clearly Now (KY), L. Saez, 117, B A Lynch
6. Gombey Dancer (KY), C.J. Lanerie, 117, E Kenneally
7. Nevada (KY), P. Lopez, 117, J F Orseno
8. Tulira Castle (KY), E. Trujillo, 117, J P DiVito
9. Triple Cross (FL), M G Pino, 119, A Rice
10. Forty Tales (KY), J. Castellano, 117, T A Pletcher
11. Singanothersong (KY), J.Z. Santana, 117, R Pellegrini
12. Res Judicata (PA), J. Rocco, Jr., 119, J C Servis
13. Are You Kidding Me (KY), E.S. Prado, 117, R L Attfield