Although he figures to be challenged early in the Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 29 at Gulfstream Park, Mr. Online is the 5-2 morning-line choice to return to his winning ways when he faces an expected nine other older horses in the one-mile turf race.
Tim O'Donohue's Mr. Online saw a three-race win streak come to an end when he finished a close second to Reload in the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream. Before losing that one-mile turf race by a neck, the 5-year-old son of Silent Name registered three straight wins, including a victory in the El Prado Stakes Dec. 28 on yielding turf at Gulfstream.
Mr. Online typically races on or near the lead and he will not be alone in that running style Saturday as Five Iron, Cozzetti, Grand Tito, and Tetradrachm also figure to challenge early. They even could be joined in the early battle by some others.
That could set things up for Alain and Gerard Wertheimer's Salto, who rallied from fifth to finish third in the Canadian Turf. Trainer Todd Pletcher noted that the 6-year-old Pivotal horse has hit the board in four of his five starts on the Gulfstream turf.
"He ran very well last time and he's run well at Gulfstream before, so we're going to give it a shot," Pletcher said. "I thought he ran great last time. He had a beautiful trip and he kicked hard; it just seemed at that particular time of the meet, speed was holding up really well on the turf and he just couldn't quite reel in a couple of those horses up ahead of him. He certainly was finishing very well."
A horse who could upset the Appleton cart would be Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch's New York-bred Kharafa, who rallied from fourth to win the Three Coins Up Stakes Nov. 10 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The versatile 5-year-old Kitalpha gelding won last year's Ashley T. Cole Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion on the Belmont Park turf but would figure to sit off this pace.
$100,000 Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT, race 11, approximate post time 5 p.m. EDT) 4YO&Up, One Mile, Turf
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Midnight Cello (KY), O. Bocachica, 117, M. Vitali, 15-1
2. Salto (IRE), J. Castellano, 117, T. Pletcher, 3-1
3. Kharafa (NY), P. Lopez, 117, T. Hills, 8-1
4. Mr. Online (ON), K. Carmouche, 119, M. Pino, 5-2
5. Hey Leroy (KY), A. Solis, 117, M. Azpurua, 12-1
6. Tetradrachm (KY), J. Velazquez, 117, W. Mott, 5-1
7. Grand Tito (KY), E. Trujillo, 119, A. Sano, 20-1
8. Five Iron (KY), L. Contreras, 119, B. Lynch, 6-1
9. Federicksburg (KY), L. Saez, 117, M. Matz, 10-1
10. Cozzetti (KY), C. Lanerie, 117, D. Romans, 12-1
Main Track Only
11. Csaba (KY), L. Saez, 119, P. Gleaves, 4-1
12. Catron (KY), J. Castellano, 117, T. Pletcher, 5-2