Todd Pletcher is still hoping Interactif will show enough in the next three months to merit a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but for now, he will keep his charge on turf beginning with the $125,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes Feb. 7 at Gulfstream Park.
Interactif, a homebred owned by Wertheimer & Frere, will make his 3-year-old debut in the 1 1/16-mile Hallandale Beach where he will face seven rivals. The bay colt scored a pair of grade III races on turf—the With Anticipation at Saratoga and Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland—and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) during his 2-year-old campaign, giving him plenty of graded earnings for the Derby, if Pletcher wants him to go.
Last month, during an interview with The Blood-Horse, Pletcher said: “He's probably a little better on turf, but when a 3-year-old has as much talent as he does, you always have (the Derby) on your radar. We are looking at the Santa Anita Derby for him, mostly because (the Pro-Ride) has shown it resembles turf more than dirt.
“Right now he's a turf horse, but he has a dirt pedigree and we'll just have to wait and see how he performs.”
Interactif, a son of Broken Vow—Broad Pennant, by Broad Brush, broke his maiden on the Monmouth Park dirt last July and then finished eighth in the Sanford (gr. I) on the Saratoga main track before being switched to turf. He has trained up to the Hallandale Beach at Palm Meadows—both on dirt and turf. His last work came Jan. 31 on dirt when being clocked at 1:03.40 for five furlongs.
Regular rider Kent Desormeaux will have the mount on Interactif, who will break from post 8 while carrying top weight of 122 pounds.
The main challengers for Interactif could be Augustin Stable’s homebred Cat Park and J D Farms’ Bim Bam.
Cat Park, a son of Tale of the Cat, won an allowance contest at Keeneland in October during his turf debut, then finished third in the Grand Canyon Handicap at Churchill Downs in his first attempt going more than a mile. The Graham Motion trainee debuted as a 3-year-old last month in the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) on the yielding Calder turf course, finishing a solid third when beaten only a length. Edgar Prado will have the mount for the first time.
Bim Bam has also improved since moving to turf. After spending much of last year finishing behind Derby contender Jackson Bend in the Florida Stallion Stakes Series at Calder, the son of Deputy Wild Cat won the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf Stakes in his turf debut Nov. 14. He then ran very well when missing by a neck in the Dania Beach Stakes Jan. 16 at Gulfstream in his 3-year-old debut. Never off the board in eight starts, Bim Bam is trained by David Brownlee. Eibar Coa will be in the irons once more.
Ken Ramsey’s homebred Dean's Kitten begins his sophomore season after a pair of unplaced finishes in stakes company, including a sixth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Dean’s Kitten scored his biggest win last October at Belmont when posting a narrow decision in the Vision Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Cornelio Velasquez will ride for Mike Maker.
$125,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes (Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Asphalt (FL), R Maragh, 116, E Kenneally
2. Thunder Brew (FL), J L Castanon, 116, A Pecoraro
3. Dean's Kitten (KY), C H Velasquez, 120, M J Maker
4. Lucas Brady (FL), C Penalba, 118, M J Azpurua
5. Our Champion (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, J D Braddy
6. Bim Bam (FL), E Coa, 120, D R Brownlee
7. Cat Park (PA), E S Prado, 116, H G Motion
8. Interactif (KY), K J Desormeaux, 122, T A Pletcher