Cajun Beat, winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Cajun Beat, winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Mike Corrado

Cajun Beat Highlights Saturday Opener at Gulfstream

(Edited track report)
The seasonal debut of Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) champion Cajun Beat and the first $100,000 guaranteed pick three pool in racing history highlights Saturday's opening day program at Gulfstream Park.

The inaugural card of Gulfstream's 92-day meeting will feature three graded stakes races – the Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III), the Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III), and the Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) -- which comprise the All Stakes Pick Three wager with a $100,000 guarantee.

Cajun Beat, the horse who upset the Sprint field at Santa Anita Park in October, will make his seasonal bow in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector at six furlongs. The 4-year-old gelding started his march toward the Breeders' Cup last year by winning a six-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream in January.

This is the first time that a winner of a Breeders' Cup race will be racing on opening day of a Gulfstream meeting. Cajun Beat, owned by Padua Stables and John and Joseph Iracane, is stabled at Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center under the care of trainer Steve Margolis. He will carry highweight of 121 pounds in the Mr. Prospector.

His main rival in the sprint will be Edward P. Evans' Gygistar, winner of the Hallandale Beach Stakes in 2002. The 5-year-old, trained by Mark Hennig, will carry 118 pounds in Saturday's stakes.

The $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap is expected to draw a full field of older horses to race 1 1/16 on the main track. Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens has a pair ready to go. Jerkens trains Bowman's Band, who won the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes last October, and Puzzlement, who was third in both the grade I Donn Handicap and grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap last year.

The season's first turf stakes, the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass, is likely to attract an overflow field of fillies and mares. Expected to top the group are Stay Forever, who won last year's inaugural running of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, and Something Ventured, who won on the Gulfstream grass last March.