Kip Deville, one of the nation's leading grass milers, will be asked to go a little farther when he makes his seasonal debut in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 1 for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.
Ten are entered for the 1 1/8-mile event if it stays on the grass, a distance that Kip Deville has not had success at in two prior tries. Among the rivals to the likely favorite are Court Vision, winner of the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) in his last start, and Red Rocks, who captured the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) in 2006.
The race was previously contested at 1 3/8 miles. Einstein, two-time winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf, is not entered and will instead run in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on the main track a day earlier.
Owned by IEAH Stables and partners, 6-year-old Kip Deville won the 2007 Breeders' Cup MIle (gr. IT) on soft ground and ran second in last fall's renewal at Santa Anita, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind the French super filly Goldikova.
Dutrow said that the Oklahoma-bred gray son of Kipling could not be doing any better following a second public workout with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard on the Gulfstream turf course on Jan. 28. The five-furlong drill was timed in 1:05.74, with Kip Deville working more than 84 feet out on the course.
“When Cornelio got off him he said it might have been the best breeze that horse has ever turned in,” said Dutrow. “Kip is just having so much fun out there right now.”
Court Vision , owned by IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm, has not raced since taking the 10-furlong Hollywood Derby Nov. 30 with a powerful rally from seventh in the homestretch. Trained by Bill Mott, the Gulch colt won Belmont Park's Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) in his previous start Oct. 4. Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for both victories, has the mount on Court Vision, a winner of five of 12 starts while banking $1,006,400.
Kip Deville and Court Vision, who could vie for favoritism under 121 pounds, are to run uncoupled.
J. Paul Reddam's Irish-bred Red Rocks made no impression in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Oct. 25, his last start, finishing 10th of 11. Now based full time in the United States with trainer Mark Hennig, the 6-year-old son of Galileo won last summer's Man o' War (gr. IT) at Belmont, bettering runner-up Curlin by two lengths.
Red Rocks, whose success has come at distances longer than nine furlongs, has earned $2,807,821 in 20 career starts, including six victories. Javier Castellano, who was aboard Red Rocks in the Man o' War, rides again.
Grade III winner Kiss the Kid brings back-to-back stakes victories to the Gulfstream Park Turf for trainer Amy Tarrant and Hardacre Farm. The 6-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse tallied over the course in the 1 1/16-mile Ft. Lauderdale Jan. 10 and retains jockey Elvis Trujillo.
A newcomer to watch is Brazilian grade I winner Uigur, making his first U.S. start for owner Silvio Crespi. The 5-year-old has Alan Garcia in the irons for trainer Raja Malek.
Hare Forest Farm's Summer Patriot, fifth in Calder's W.L. McKnight as the favorite in his last start for trainer Barclay Tagg Dec. 13, is stuck with the far outside post. A stakes winner at Saratoga last summer, the 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song also ran third in Belmont's Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) on a yielding course Sept. 27.
Completing the field are Jonathan Sheppard’s Just as Well, Julien Leparoux; Phipps Stable’s Pick Six, Rene Douglas; Stronach Stable’s Sligovitz, John R. Velazquez; and Richard Bennett’s Nergal, Kent Desormeaux.
John Perrotta’s Phil the Power is entered to run on the main track only.
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT, Race 9, 5:04 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Just as Well (KY), 113, Julien R. Leparoux
2. Kiss the Kid (KY), 117, Elvis Trujillo
3. Pick Six (KY), 112, Rene R. Douglas
4. Court Vision (KY), 121, Ramon A. Dominguez
5. Red Rocks (IRE), 122, Javier Castellano
6. Sligovitz (ON), 114, John R. Velazquez
7. Uigur (BRZ), 115, Alan Garcia
8. Kip Deville (OK), 124, Cornelio H. Velasquez
9. Nergal (FR), 114, Kent J. Desormeaux
*10. Phil the Power (KY), 111, Eibar Coa
11. Summer Patriot (KY), 114, Eibar Coa
*Main Track Only