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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