Harlan's Holiday, winner of the 2002 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream, was expected to make his 2003 seasonal debut in the Hal's Hope (gr. III) Saturday at the South Florida track, but those plans went awry, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
While there's questions surrounding Saturday's $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, the biggest one is which horse will come out of the race with the best chance to make some noise in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 22.
Harlan's Holiday, the winner of the 2002 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream will make his 2003 debut in Saturday's $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles.
Harlan's Holiday, the winner of this year's Florida Derby (gr. I), will be back at Gulfstream Park this winter taking aim at the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) to be run at 1 1/18 miles on Feb. 22.
Rose Family Stable's Hal's Hope, hero of the 2000 Florida Derby (gr. I), remains on target for Sunday's Crème Fraiche Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Rose Family Stable's Hal's Hope, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) two years ago and most recently seventh in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 9, worked five furlongs handily in 1:00 4/5 at Calder Race Course Feb. 26 in preparation for the Crème Fraiche Handicap (gr. III) on March 10 at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Norman Pointer had his stakes-winning gelding Rize work an easy three furlongs in :39 4/5 breezing Thursday morning. Rize is slated to start in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. 1) at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park and was the lone Donn starter among the 14 entrants to work at Gulfstream on Thursday.
A full field of 14 horses, including the Gary and Mary West entry of Mongoose and Ubiquity, was drawn Wednesday for Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Graeme Hall, Traditionally, and Free of Love were on the track at Gulfstream Park Monday as each turned in workouts for Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I). Meanwhile, Hal's Hope had his final blowout at Calder Race Course.
Trainer Niall O'Callaghan is on the fence about sending Keats, winner of last year's Lexington Stakes (gr. II), to the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 9 or the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 10.
Classic winner Red Bullet completed his last major workout on the Gulfstream Park oval before a scheduled appearance in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 9. Red Bullet was officially clocked in :47 3/5 breezing for a half-mile.
Free of Love was on the track for an easy workout Jan. 29 in preparation for his forthcoming appearance in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9. The Richard Violette Jr.-trained runner was clocked in :50 4/5 breezing.
Trainer Bill White said Kiss A Native, owned by John Franks, will run in Saturday's Ft. Lauderdale Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park as a prep for the Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 9 at the same south Florida oval.
Frank Stronach's classic-winning Red Bullet worked toward his anticipated start in next month's Donn Handicap (gr. I) Wednesday morning, getting five furlongs in 1:03, breezing. In other news, Mongoose, who defeated Monarchos last weekend, may get a start in the Donn; and Beatrice Oxenberg's Best of the Rest, prepares for Gulfstream Park's signature race for older horses.
Graeme Hall worked five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 and Traditionally breezed a half-mile in :49 at Gulfstream Park on Sunday in preparation for the Donn Handicap.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, a staple in Southern California but a rarity in South Florida, plans on saddling Jerome and John W. Amerman's Lido Palace in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park. In other news, Mr. Pleasantfar is passing on the Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. III) to tackle instead the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I)
John Oxley's Monarchos, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby, will begin his 2002 campaign Saturday in a $40,000 allowance/optional claiming event.
John Franks homebred' Kiss A Native breezed five furlongs in 1:03 Wednesday morning at Calder Race Course in preparation for his upcoming engagement in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 9. Prior to Wednesday's work, Kiss A Native breezed five furlongs last Friday in 1:02 4/5.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had two of his best horses, Nokoma and Graeme Hall, out for morning trials on Sunday and was pleased with the way both horses went.
After finishing second to 9-year-old Sir Bear in Saturday's Skip Away Handicap (gr. III), trainer Joe Orseno said Red Bullet will race next in the 1 1/8-mile Donn Handicap (gr. I). Other Skip Away runners likely to return in the Donn are Traditionally and Skip Away third-place finisher Hal's Hope. The connections of the valiant Sir Bear are undecided on the gelding's next start.
Sir Bear will begin his 9-year-old season in the $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Red Bullet has been assigned high weight of 118 pounds for the 1 1/16-mile Donn Handicap (gr. I) prep.
Trainer John T. Ward Jr. sent Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos on a five-furlong work from the starting gate at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning. "We wanted to tweak his interest," said Ward of the drill.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos continued working toward the Feb. 9 Donn Handicap (gr. I) Sunday, working five furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The John Ward trainee, who won the Florida Derby (gr. I) at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Donn, will likely have to face 2000 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Red Bullet in the $500,000 Donn.
In a move that trainer John Ward described as "perfect," Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos worked four furlongs in :52 at Keeneland on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Trainer John Ward said Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos will ship down to Gulfstream Park a few days after Thanksgiving to begin preparation for his 4-year-old campaign. "God, he looks good," Ward said. "His rear end has really filled out and his coat looks like shining silver. He's come back with gusto."
When newly turned 4-year-olds Captain Steve and Albert the Great renewed their battle at Gulfstream on Feb. 3 in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), it was under far different circumstances. Primarily, with Giant's Causeway off to the breeding shed and Tiznow plying his trade back on the West Coast, Steve and Albert were the heavies in the 43rd renewal of the race that traditionally kicks off the year for the handicap division. And strategically, while the Donn would ultimately come down to a stretch battle between the pair, like Picasso painting in straight lines the two runners abandoned their recognized running styles and embarked on journeys that might offer hints into what 2001 might hold in store.
Eight of the best handicap horses in training, including grade 1 winners Captain Steve, Albert the Great and Sir Bear, clash Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the first major event of the year for older runners, the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at a mile and an eighth. The Donn will be televised on ESPN2 as part of a broadcast that includes the Strub Stakes and San Vicente Stakes from 6:30-7:00 p.m. (ET).
Gander had such an impressive workout here on Saturday that trainer John Terranova II and owners Mike and Ted Gatsas have decided to run him in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap to be run over 1 1/8 miles. Gander earned the bullet work when he went six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 handily. According to Gulfstream Park, possible Donn starters, with weights and jockeys, are: Captain Steve, 120, Jerry Bailey; Albert the Great, 119, Jorge Chavez; Pleasant Breeze, 116, (Indefinite); Sir Bear, 116, Eibar Coa; North East Bound, 116, Jose Velez Jr.' Gander, 115, John Velazquez; Rich Celebration, 112, Jose Santos; Noble Ruler, 111, Pat Day; Tempest Fugit, 111, Edgar Prado; and Vision and Verse, 114, (indefinite).
Julian De Marc's North East Bound, a close second in the Breeder's Cup Mile (gr. I) on the turf at Churchill Downs in his last start, worked on Wednesday and remains on schedule for his expected appearance in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 3 according to trainer Bill Perry. Others still on track for the Donn are Hal's Hope, Albert the Great, Captain Steve, Pleasant Breeze, Sir Bear, Vision and Verse, American Halo, Rich Celebration, Rock and Roll, and Noble Ruler.
Julian Demarco and Richard Disano's North East Bound worked three furlongs in :36 2/5 seconds on Thursday while breezing on a fast track at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old gelded son of D'Accord is preparing for his return to the races in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at the South Florida oval on Feb. 3.
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