Guys Reward Meets Salto in Canadian Turf
Veteran Guys Reward will bid for his second win of the year in the $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
The one-mile race for 4-year-olds and older drew a field of 12, with Guys Reward chasing his first victory over the Gulfstream turf in his 12th try while taking on a familiar opponent.
Michael Bruder's 7-year-old son of Grand Reward comes in off a last-to-first rally Feb. 1 in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT), in which blew past favorite Salto in the stretch to score by 1 1/2 lengths while snapping a six-race winless streak. He will try to maintain that momentum for trainer Dale Romans, who is double-handed in the $400,000 Besilu Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) one race later on the card with Medal Count and Hesinfront.
Guys Reward has an 8-5-10 record from 41 career starts that includes his triumph in the 2012 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
In his 2013 finale, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer's Salto finished second in the El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream behind Tim O'Donohue's grade I-placed Mr. Online, a reformed claimer who will bid for a fourth straight victory in the Canadian Turf.
"He seems to have bounced out of his Tampa race well," trainer Todd Pletcher said of Salto, a 6-year-old son of Pivotal. "He runs hard every time. He always shows up and gives a big effort. Let's see if he's good enough, but he seems to be in good form at the moment."
An intriguing entrant is former claimer North Star Boy, who takes a big step up in class after posting seconds to heavy favorite Major Marvel in the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Dec. 7 at Gulfstream and multiple stakes winner Longhunter, who is Canadian grade I-placed, in an optional claiming race there Jan. 16.
North Star Boy ran in the 1 1/16-mile Emerald, restricted to horses that had run for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower, without ever having run in a claiming race in the United States.
The Irish-bred Acclamation gelding became eligible for the Emerald by running in a pair of claiming races in England before being claimed and imported by trainer Niall Saville and his partners in North Star Racing.
Rydilluc, who is a perfect two-for-two on the Gulfstream turf for Team Stallion Racing and partners with an allowance score and a victory in the 2013 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), is slated to make his 2014 debut off a six-month layoff.
Ramona Bass' Fredericksburg, most recently runner-up in the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) Jan. 25; Wade M. Wacker's Joha, the 2012 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) winner; and a trio of allowance winners in Shadwell Stable's Abtaal, Phipps Stable's Reload and Besilu Stable's Unbridled Ocean also are entered.
Robert Liebner's Bad Debt, a multiple stakes winner who finished third in the Florida Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes Jan. 18 last time out; and Robert Smithen's Hampstead Heath, a grade II stakes-placed runner in Canada, round out the field.
$150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, approximate post 5:03 p.m. EST), 4YO&Up, One Mile
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mr. Online (ON), K Carmouche, 119, M V Pino
2. Unbridled Ocean (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, W I Mott
3. Rydilluc (KY), E S Prado, 117, G C Contessa
4. Fredericksburg (KY), J Rocco Jr., 117, M R Matz
5. Reload (KY) J Castellano, 117, C R McGaughey III
6. Salto (IRE) J Bravo, 117, T A Pletcher
7. North Star Boy (IRE), C J Lanerie, 119, N Saville
8. Joha (KY), J Lezcano, 119, T Albertrani
9. Bad Debt (FL), J Rosario, 119, M J Trombetta
10. Hampstead Heath (ON), L Contreras, 117, B A Lynch
11. Guys Reward (KY), A Jaen, 121, D L Romans
12. Abtaal (KY) L Saez, 117, K P McLaughlin
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