Crossbow, who has shown freakish speed in the first three races of his career, will get a chance to put his sprinting ability to the test Feb. 26 when he faces a tough field—many of them who have also shown the ability to fire from the gates—in the $150,000 Hutcheson (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Darley Stable’s Crossbow will break from the rail under Ramon Dominguez in the seven-furlong Hutcheson, will means he will likely try to go straight to the front against his nine rivals. The son of Bernardini will be making his stakes debut one month after scoring an allowance contest by three-quarters of a length at the Hutcheson distance. He finished up in 1:22.86 after running a swift half-mile in :45.52.
Dominguez was aboard Crossbow when he broke his maiden by three lengths Jan. 2 at Aqueduct in his second try, as he went wire-to-wire as the 1-4 favorite.
Kiaran McLaughlin trains Crossbow, who is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Forest Heiress.
Though he has shown terrific speed, Crossbow is by no means a lock to inherit the lead against a speedy bunch of 3-year-olds. Just to the outside of him will be Madman Diaries, a Bring the Heat gelding who has been quick from the gates in all six of his starts—three of which have been wins.
Co-owned and trained by Wesley Ward, Madman Diaries broke his maiden by nearly 10 lengths at Keeneland last spring, wired the field by almost the same margin in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine in the summer, and went all the way in the Sept. 4 Sapling Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park in his debut on dirt.
This will be the 2011 debut for Madman Diaries, who will be ridden by Jeffery Sanchez.
Right next to Madman Diaries from post 3 will be E. Paul Robsham’s homebred Travelin Man, who earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure when breaking his maiden by 7 1/4 lengths Jan. 6 at Gulfstream while going six furlongs in 1:09.09 in his debut. The Trippi colt has been working well for Todd Pletcher at Palm Meadows Training Center for his stakes debut. John Velazquez will keep the mount.
Pletcher will also saddle another horse that likes to run up front, Let’s Go Stable’s Razmataz. The son of Forest Wildcat broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last summer and returned to win his 3-year-old debut in a six-furlong allowance race Jan. 12 at Gulfstream. Javier Castellano will be in the irons.
As if that weren’t enough speed, Peachtree Stable’s Flashpoint ran huge in his Jan. 15 debut at Aqueduct, going gate-to-wire while breaking his maiden by more than six lengths for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. The Pomeroy colt ran a half-mile in :45.98 and finished up six furlongs in 1:09.68 that day. He shipped to Gulfstream a couple of weeks ago and has had two works on the track.
A pair of stakes winners shipping in from Calder also should not be ignored. Leo Azpurua’s Manicero carries a four-race win streak into the Hutcheson. He romped by 8 1/4 lengths in the state-restricted Jack Price Juvenile Stakes last year and scored the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs to complete his season. The Florida-bred Mass Media colt picked up right where he left off in the Jan. 15 Pasco Stakes, winning by a half-length going seven furlongs at Tampa in his 3-year-old debut.
Little Drama, a half-brother to sprint champion Big Drama, blitzed his way to a 9 1/2-length romp in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes last summer and won a seven-furlong allowance in the fall. He makes his season debut for trainer David Fawkes.
All of the expected speed could set things up perfectly for Leave of Absence, who closed well to get second in the Jan. 8 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream. The Rick Violette Jr. trainee was sixth last out in the Holy Bull (gr. III) after a troubled trip.
Fifth in the Holy Bull was Black N Beauty, an impressive one-mile allowance winner at Gulfstream Jan. 7 for Dale Romans.
$150,000 Hutcheson (gr. II, Race 9, 4:52 p.m.), 3YO, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1 Crossbow (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, K P McLaughlin
2 Madman Diaries (FL), J Sanchez, 120, W A Ward
3 Travelin Man (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, T A Pletcher
4 Razmataz (KY), J Castellano, 116, T A Pletcher
5 Flashpoint (FL), C H Velasquez, 116, R E Dutrow, Jr.
6 Little Drama (FL), J Bravo, 120 D Fawkes
7 Leave of Absence (FL), R Maragh, 116, R A Violette Jr.
8 Black N Beauty (ON), K J Desormeaux, 116, D L Romans
9 Manicero (FL), L Saez, 120, L Azpurua Jr.
10 Royal Currier (FL), E Trujillo, 118, P Farro