Relaxed Gesture Leads Gulfstream BC Turf Noms

(from Gulfstream Park notes)
Moyglare Stud Farm's 5-year-old Relaxed Gesture, the Irish-bred son of Indian Ridge, is prominent among 15 older horses nominated for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) on Feb. 25.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Relaxed Gesture posted a 7-3-3-1 record last season, earning more than $1.3 million and scoring his most important victory in the Canadian International (Can-I) at Woodbine last out on Oct. 23. The chestnut has been working steadily toward his return to competition at Payson Park.

A second nominee to the 1 7/16-mile test, Shadwell Stable's 5-year-old Mustanfar, breezed five furlongs :59 3/5 on turf at Palm Meadows Monday morning for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, indicating his readiness for a return to competition.

Mustanfar was a Triple Crown prospect early in 2004, finishing second in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. But he found a home on the grass. His last 10 trips to the post have been on grass and the plans are to keep him on turf – at least for his more immediate future.

"Races at a mile-and-three-eighths to a mile-and-a-half seem to work out well for him," said McLaughlin. "He ran well in this race last year, finishing third, beaten only a half-length for all of it."

The race was run at 1 3/8 miles last year but will be a little longer on the new Gulfstream layout.

"He definitely loves the grass, and he loves a distance of ground," McLaughlin said. "He's bred for grass (by Unbridled out of a Lyphard mare), and there are more races at his kind of distance on the grass than there are on dirt, so we'll see how it goes this time.

"We hope we can run 'one-two-three' in there, and then we could hope to get an invitation to Dubai in March. Sheikh Hamdan (bin Rashid al Maktoum, owner of Shadwell) would love that," he said, referring to the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) run at 1 ½ miles on turf on the Dubai World Cup card on March 25.

Other notable nominees to the race include Laue Ranch's Gun Salute, Anstu Stable's Balto Star, Midnight Cry Stable's Brazilian-bred Einstein and 3rd Turn Stable's Honor in War.