Tackleberry, a versatile sort who won the Gulfstream Sprint Championship (gr. II) at seven furlongs Feb. 12 and the Sunshine Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles Jan. 29, has a victory in two starts at one mile, but that came around two turns at Calder Casino & Race Course. At Gulfstream, one-mile races on dirt are one-turn events.
Tackleberry, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Montbrook out of the Concerto mare Box of Joy, was bred by Ocala Stud and is trained by his owner. He rated just off the pace in second in the Sprint Championship before taking over in the lane, and appears to be well-positioned from post three in the one-mile Handicap.
Javier Santiago will as usual ride the 121-pound highweight. Tackleberry will carry one more pound than WinStar Farm’s homebred Rule, who seems poised for a top effort in his third start off a long rest but will have to deal with post one under John Velazquez. Todd Pletcher trains.
Rule began his 2011 campaign with a solid second-place finish in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (gr. III) at one mile at Gulfstream Jan. 8, then followed up with a strong third-place finish in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream. Rule probably only needs a good trip to get the money in the Handicap.
The Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt by Roman Ruler out of the Personal Flag mare Rockcide was on the Triple Crown trail last year before being sidelined.
The Gulfstream Park Handicap is the 10th race on an 11-race card that includes the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass and the $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes, which marks the 2011 debut of Uncle Mo , last year’s 2-year-old champion male.
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (Race 10, 5:25 p.m.), 3YO&Up, 1 Mile (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Rule (KY) J R Velazquez, 120, T A Pletcher
2. Our Dark Knight (KY) J Castellano, 115, N P Zito
3. Tackleberry (FL) J Santiago, 121, L Olivares
4. Duke of Mischief (FL) J Bravo, 118, D Fawkes
5. Jackson Bend (FL) J Sanchez, 115, S I Gold
6. Tizway (KY) R Maragh, 117, H J Bond
7. Soaring Empire (KY) J Lezcano, 119, C M Gambolati
8. Pulsion (FL) R Curatolo, 110, P L Biancone