Invasor isn't the only Eclipse Award winner starting the 2007 season at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Live Oak Plantation’s 8-year-old horse Miesque’s Approval also returns for another campaign in the first start since his stunning victory in the Netjets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), topping a field of eight entrants in the $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT).
The Canadian is one of three grade III stakes on the Gulfstream undercard Saturday, joining the Suwannee River Handicap for older fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the turf and the 6 1/2-furlong Deputy Minister Handicap for 4 & up.
Regular jockey Eddie Castro will be back aboard Miesque’s Approval for trainer Marty Wolfson in the 1 1/16-mile turf fixture. The Florida homebred son of Miesque’s Son finished a game second in the Canadian last year behind fellow Eclipse finalist English Channel. Miesque's Approval breaks from the far outside post and carries top weight of 123 pounds.
Completing the field for the Canadian Turf are Robert Abbo Racing Stable’s Better Than Bonds, Kingfield Farm’s Jambalaya, Edward P. Evans’ Giant Wrecker, Melnyk Racing Stable’s Host, Dennis Punches’ Jet Propulsion, Amy Tarrant’s Kiss the Kid, and Kenneth Hoffman’s Demeteor.
Summerplace Farm’s 6-year-old gelding Kelly’s Landing and Timber Bay Farm and Mrs. Thomas Walsh’s 5-year-old gelding Sir Greeley are top-class sprinters and appear to be the horses to beat in a field of just five lining up for the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap.
Jockey Edgar Prado rode Kelly’s Landing to an impressive victory in the Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Jan. 6, his first start since a wide trip when 10th in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, the son of Patton earned his chance in the Breeders’ Cup with a victory in the Phoenix Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) at Keeneland in October.
Sir Greeley also saw action on Jan. 6 at Gulfstream when he lost a head decision to Chatain in the one-mile Hal’s Hope Handicap. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the son of Mr. Greeley finished second in four other stakes last year, including the Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) at Gulfstream in early March.
Completing the field for the Deputy Minister are Starlight Stable and Paul Saylor’s Keyed Entry, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream last winter; West Point Stable’s High Finance, second to Kelly’s Landing in the Mr. Prospector; and Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Nar, an allowance winner in South Florida on Jan. 6.
Moncreaux Stable’s 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Naissance Royale and Lawrence Golchman’s 4-year-old New York homebred J’ray were both narrowly beaten favorites that finished second in stakes in their last starts. The co-high weights at 119 pounds will likely vie for favoritism in a field of 10 fillies and mares set to run in the $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap.
Edgar Prado rides Naissance Royale for trainer Christophe Clement after the daughter of Giant’s Causeway was beaten a half-length as the 3-to-5 choice in the Marshua’s River Stakes over the Gulfstream turf course on Jan. 13. The tough-luck mare shipped to California for her previous start only to lose a nose decision in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park in December.
John Velazquez rides J’ray in her first start since dropping a head decision in the Frances A. Genter Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Calder on Dec. 30. The chestnut daughter of Distant View suffered another tough loss in her previous outing when second by a neck in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 18.
Completing the field for the Suwannee River are Gary Zwerling’s La Dolce Vita, Chiefswood Stable’s Nottawasaga, Team Valor Stable’s Jacaranda Jane (SAF), Charles Miller’s Potra Clasica (ARG), Peachtree Stable’s Brazilian, Katsumi Yoshida’s Cursora (ARG), Initially Stable’s Silversider, and Freddy Nossar’s Baleriana (PER).
$100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III, Race 3, 2:12 p.m.), 4 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Keyed Entry (KY), 113, John R. Velazquez
2. Nar (FL), 113, Javier Castellano
3. High Finance (KY), 113, Rafael Bejarano
4. Kelly's Landing (KY), 119, Edgar S. Prado
5. Sir Greeley (KY), 117, Kent J. Desormeaux
$100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 6, 3:50 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Better Than Bonds (FL), 114, Edgar S. Prado
2. Jambalaya (ON), 117, Rafael Bejarano
3. Giant Wrecker (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
4. Host (CHI), 117, John R. Velazquez
5. Jet Propulsion (FL), 114, Elvis Trujillo
6. Kiss the Kid (KY), 114, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
7. Demeteor (KY), 113, Mark Guidry
8. Miesque's Approval (FL), 123, Eddie Castro
$100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:53 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Naissance Royale (IRE), 119, Edgar S. Prado
2. La Dolce Vita (KY), 114, Mark Guidry
3. Nottawasaga (KY), 114, Javier Castellano
4. Jacaranda Jane (SAF), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
5. Potra Clasica (ARG), 115, Rafael Bejarano
6. Brazilian (KY), 115, Eddie Castro
7. Cursora (ARG), 114, Kent J. Desormeaux
8. Silversider (FL), 114, Manoel R. Cruz
9. J'ray (NY), 119, John R. Velazquez
10. Baleriana (PER), 113, Eduardo O. Nunez