Trainer Kenny McPeek works hard, saddles Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday to a Florida Derby victory.
If you feel there's no value in the Future Wager on the horses running this weekend, then you might want to consider looking for your value now. And D'Coach, High Star, and Puerto Banus are three horses you can have some fun with.
Remsen Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Nokoma displayed his fitness for Saturday's $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) with a fast workout at Gulfstream Park on Monday.
Puck, who dead-heated for second is a recent allowance race at Gulfstream behind Nokoma, turned in a strong 6-furlong work in 1:12 4/5 for the March 16 Florida Derby.
Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull winner Booklet turned in a bullet 5-furlong work in :59 4/5 at Gulfstream Friday morning in preparation for the March 16 Florida Derby. Also on the work tab was Florida Derby hopeful D'Coach, who breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02.
The seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream that had been intended as Saarland's first start of the year has now failed to fill on two occasions. With Sunday's field again drawing only three horses, trainer Shug McGaughey could head up to Aqueduct for an allowance race next Friday.
Although the Florida Derby still is a little over three weeks away, it appears as if at least seven 3-year-olds are pointing for the $1 million, grade I event at Gulfstream Park on March 16. Booklet and Harlan's Holiday, who finished one-two in the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth Stakes, are expected to renew their budding rivalry, with a few new faces ready to join the fray.
That's what Saratoga Blues' opponents have been doing in the colt's three career starts. The son of Twining captured Saturday's Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct for his third consecutive victory. At Santa Anita, USS Tinosa drew off to an impressive score in Friday's Sham Stakes, while stablemate Cappuchino had no trouble winning the Golden State Mile back home at Golden Gate.
Saratoga Blues stalked pacesetter Flo's Bo through the early going before driving clear in the stretch to win the $82,525 Whirlaway Stakes by two lengths on Saturday at Aqueduct.
Normally, the Whirlaway Stakes over Aqueduct's inner track receives very little fanfare, as only a moderate group of winter residents and Maryland shippers bother showing up. But this year, the winter residents appear much stronger than usual, as do the Maryland shippers. Add a pair of invaders from England who have already won a couple of races each on the dirt, and Saturday's Whirlaway takes on a whole different look.
The one trainer who seems to be establishing his niche in this year's Derby picture is Shug McGaughey. With Saarland, Maybry's Boy, and D'Coach, it's as if McGaughey is standing at the quarter pole with a slingshot and launching some speeding projectiles down the Aqueduct stretch.