A short field of six was drawn for nine-furlong contest, with Court Vision carrying top weight of 121 pounds, one more than Take the Points. The Turf Handicap is the first of three graded stakes on the program.
Owned by IEAH Stables, Resolute Group Stables, and WinStar Farm, Court Vision ended the 2009 season in good form, winning the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 10 at Keeneland and then finishing fourth by just 1 1/2 lengths to champion Goldikova in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) the following month at Santa Anita.
A 5-year-old son of Gulch—Weekend Storm, by Storm Bird, Court Vision scored his other grade I win in 2008 Hollywood Derby. As a 2-year-old, he made his mark on the dirt when taking the Iroquois (gr. III) and Remsen (gr. II) Stakes before finishing unplaced in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) while trained by Bill Mott. The dark bay or brown horse is now under the care of Rick Dutrow Jr. He has trained up to the race at Gulfstream, his final work coming Jan. 27 (five furlongs in :59.50).
Robby Albarado, aboard for the last two starts, will keep the mount.
Starlight Partners’ Take the Points turned his career around when trainer Todd Pletcher switched him to grass last summer. A winner of two of seven starts while racing on dirt and synthetics, including a last-place finish in the 2009 Preakness (gr. I), the son of Even the Score bagged consecutive grade I wins later that season in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park and Jamaica Handicap at Belmont. He ended his campaign by finishing seventh Nov. 29 in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
Take the Points makes his 4-year-old debut after working much of the winter at Palm Meadows. His final tune-up came Jan. 31 when he was clocked going five furlongs in 1:01.80. Edgar Prado will have the call once again.
Making his North American debut is Never On Sunday, a 5-year-old horse who is a group I winner in France. The son of Sunday Break won the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) last May for his seventh victory in 10 starts. He would later finish third to eventual Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) winner Vision d'Etat in the Prince of Wales Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot and ended the 2009 campaign with a pair of off-the board efforts.
Never On Sunday will be making his debut for Patrick Biancone after being trained in Europe by Jean Claude Rouget. Joe Bravo has the assignment.
Also in the field is two-time grade III winner Le Grand Cru; Yate's Black Cat, who enters off an optional claiming win Jan. 22 at Gulfstream; and Adagio, who has made his last five starts in the claiming ranks and is also trained by Dutrow.
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT, Race 9, 5:18 p.m. EST), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Le Grand Cru (KY), J Lezcano, 114, H A Jerkens
2. Yate's Black Cat (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, D L Romans
3. Court Vision (KY), R Albarado, 121, R E Dutrow Jr.
4. Never On Sunday (FR), J Bravo, 119, P L Biancone
5. Take the Points (KY), E S Prado, 120, T A Pletcher
6. Adagio (GB), C H Velasquez, 111, R E Dutrow Jr.