Defending Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (gr. IIIT) champion Kiss the Kid returns for another crack at the turf event, but the 7-year-old horse figures to have a much tougher time in the 2010 edition, as an accomplished field of 14 lines up for the 1 1/16-mile race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 10.
Hardacre Farm’s Kiss the Kid won the Ft. Lauderdale by neck a year ago over Society’s Chairman and notched another graded stakes win a couple months later at Gulfstream in the Appleton (gr. IIIT). But the son of Lemon Drop Kid has not hit the winner’s circle since then, going winless in his last eight starts. Trained by Amy Tarrant, his last effort was a 10th-place finish on the dirt in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Eddie Castro has been assigned the mount.
James Scatuorchio and John Iracane’s Bittel Road has made the majority of his starts on turf, but ironically enters this race off a win on dirt—the Monarch’s Maze Stakes Nov. 20 at Aqueduct. It was the first try on traditional dirt for the son of Stormy Atlantic and his first race off a more than six-month layoff. Now 4, Bittel Road will make his first start in Florida. The Todd Pletcher trainee won the With Anticipation Stakes and Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) as a juvenile. John Velazquez will have the mount.
Dale Romans trainee Yate’s Black Cat draws the inside under Kent Desormeaux and will likely take back off the pace before making a late run at the leaders. In his last race, the 1 1/2-mile Sycamore (gr. IIIT) last fall at Keeneland, the Black Minnaloushe horse missed by only a neck in a blanket three-horse photo finish that was won by Cloudy’s Knight. He won twice in seven starts on the grass in 2009.
Mambo Meister was sixth in last year’s Ft. Lauderdale after a less than ideal trip, then came back 11 days later to miss by a neck in an optional claimer over the same course. He won a pair of minor stakes at Calder after that, and in October scored in the Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. IIIT) in convincing fashion. The gelded son of King Cugat concluded his 2009 campaign with a fifth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita, missing by only two lengths. Manoel Cruz will be in the irons for Phil Gleaves.
“He ran such big numbers winning the Spend a Buck and then again in the Breeders’ Cup that we decided that he would need a couple of months off and that the Ft. Lauderdale would be a good place to bring him back,” said Gleaves. “We got him back from California and he just came back so strong that we actually considered running him in the Tropical Turf at Calder (Dec. 5), but when that race was cancelled, we went back to Plan A, which was to point for the Fort Lauderdale, and hope he gets a better trip than he did in the race last year.”
Woodbine-based Society’s Chairman missed by neck in last year’s Ft. Lauderdale and went on to have a solid season for trainer Roger Attfield. He won twice, including the Halton Stakes at Woodbine, and hit the board in seven of 10 starts. The Canadian-bred 7-year-old was third in his most recent start, the Dec. 2 Sir Barton Stakes on the Woodbine Polytrack.
$100,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:08 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Yate's Black Cat (KY), K J Desormeaux, 122, D L Romans
2. Jet Propulsion (FL), E Trujillo, 122, M D Wolfson
3. Star Plus (ARG), R Maragh, 122, A J Penna, Jr.
4. Dry Martini (FL), J Castellano, 124, B Tagg
5. Danak (IRE), A Garcia, 122, K P McLaughlin
6. Vacation (KY), J R Leparoux, 122, C R McGaughey III
7. Kiss the Kid (KY), E Castro, 122, A Tarrant
8. Sam P. (KY), T Farina, 118, W Bradley
9. Society's Chairman (ON), J Lezcano, 122, R L Attfield
10. Wheels Up At Noon (FL), E S Prado, 122, H Pitts
11. Mambo Meister (KY), M R Cruz, 122, P A Gleaves
12. Bittel Road (KY), J R Velazquez, 122, T A Pletcher
13. Duke of Mischief (FL), E Coa, 122, D Fawkes
14. Valtrus (KY), J Rose, 118, B R Brown
15. Wingedlie (FL), A Lezcano, 118, J Negrete