(Gulfstream Park notes)
Lori and George Hall’s Atomic Rain and Jayeff B Stable’s Chef are prominent in a field of eight 3-year-olds entered in a 1 1/8-mile allowance feature at Gulfstream Park March 6, a race almost certain to yield a contender or two for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) to be run over the track and distance on March 28.
Jockey Joe Bravo rides Atomic Rain for trainer Kelly Breen as he bids to bounce back from a dull seventh-place finish as one of the favorites in the Sam Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 14.
Atomic Rain is a Smart Strike colt purchased for $170,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. He had not finished worse than second in four starts prior to the Tampa Bay race, apparently not liking the surface there. He finished second to division leader Old Fashioned in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct in late November to complete his juvenile campaign and was a game second by a neck behind Free Country in a Gulfstream allowance at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 8.
Chef makes only his second career start after a very impressive debut victory here on Feb. 14, scoring by 4 1/4 lengths going seven furlongs under jockey C.H. Marquez, Jr., who gets the return call. Trained by Alan Goldberg, the chestnut son of Smarty Jones was a $400,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.
Another contender to watch in Friday’s race will be the brilliant, but inconsistent Well Positioned, a son of Awesome Again owned by Paul Pompa, Jr., trained by Pat Reynolds and to be ridden by Edgar Prado.
Well Positioned made a big impression breaking his maiden going a mile at Aqueduct by 14 1/4 lengths in November in his second start, but flopped in his 3-year-old debut here on Jan. 31 when finishing a non-threatening sixth in a one-mile allowance won by Take the Points, who came back to finish second in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Feb. 28.
Completing the field for Friday’s feature are Mark Grier’s Copper Cascade, Julien Leparoux; New Life Stable and Equus Racing’s Stately Character, Cornelio Velasquez; James Scatuorchio’s Idol Maker, Chris DeCarlo; Ann and Lloyd Ferrentino’s Zooming White Star, Pedro Monterrey, Jr.; and WinStar Farm’s Al Khali, John. R. Velazquez.
Hello Broadway in High Gear in Gulfstream Workout
Elizabeth Valando’s graded-stakes-placed 3-year-old Hello Broadway breezed sharply March 4 at Gulfstream.
Under exercise rider Carl Allsop, the son of Broken Vow worked six furlongs in 1:14 in his latest drill since finishing second behind Capt. Candyman Can in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) here on Jan. 29.
“It went good. Just what I wanted,” said Tagg. “He seemed pretty relaxed this morning.”
Tagg is committed to the two-turn, 1 1/16 mile Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 14 despite a desire to stay at his South Florida base. His three races as a 2-year-old in New York were all one-turn races, including a second-place finish in the Nashua Stakes (gr. III) to close that campaign on Nov. 2.
“I like the progression of the races to the Florida Derby this year, but it just didn’t fit my horse,” said Tagg. “I had originally lined it up and thought the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) at a mile would have been great to get to the Florida Derby, but I wasn’t thinking at the time that it would have made five straight one-turn races. The Florida Derby would be his only two-turn race before the (Kentucky) Derby (gr. I) and I can’t risk that.”
For now, Tagg’s chosen road to producing his sixth career Kentucky Derby starter, and making an appearance for the fourth straight year since winning in 2003 with Funny Cide, will take Hello Broadway from Tampa to New York for the Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 4.
“We don’t have much choice now,” said Tagg. “If he can win in Tampa, we go to New York. If he can win there, on we go to Churchill.”