Bandini to Return Wednesday at Gulfstream

(from Gulfstream Park)
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's 4-year-old Bandini was nominated to Saturday's $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. II), but trainer Todd Pletcher will let the talented colt get his season started in a one-mile allowance/optional feature Wednesday at Gulfstream Park instead.

John Velazquez will be aboard Bandini, who makes his first start since being injured while finishing 19th of 20 in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last spring. He runs Wednesday in the ninth race on the Gulfstream card.

A son of Fusaichi Pegasus , Bandini was a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase who ran at the South Florida track three times last winter, breaking his maiden in early January after finishing unplaced in his career debut at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old.

Bandini's career moved on quickly from there with a nine-length allowance score going 1 1/8 miles and a close-up second behind High Fly in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). Instead of coming back in the Florida Derby (gr. I), the promising colt went to Keeneland for his final Derby prep, romping home a six-length winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).

Bandini's most accomplished rival in Wednesday's field of nine older horses is Buckram Oak Farm's 5-year-old Silver Wagon, with Cornelio Velasquez getting the call. Trained by Ralph Ziadie, the roan/gray son of Wagon Limit is making his first start since finishing third at odds-on in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder Dec. 17.