Mott, Bailey Old Hands at Winning Canadian Turf

(from track report)
The Bill Mott-Jerry Bailey combination is a potent force in Gulfstream Park grass stakes, so it will be no surprise if Live Oak Plantation's Miesque's Approval goes off a short price in Sunday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 mile.

A field of nine was entered for the Canadian Turf, including two – Regency Park and Saint Verre – who won't run unless the race is shifted to the main track.

Mott, who has two Canadian Turf wins to his credit, trains Miesque's Approval. Bailey will be looking for his seventh riding victory in the stake.

Miesque's Approval, a 4-year-old by Miesque's Son, will be making his Gulfstream debut Sunday. The colt won the Bonnie Heath Turf Handicap at Calder last fall and before that took the Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware Park. In his most recent outing, the Florida bred shipped to Santa Anita, where he ran fifth in the Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 25. The return to Sunday's distance should be to his liking. His top weight impost of 116 pounds is two less than he toted last out.

Several of the others in the field appear closely matched. Michael Gill's Sardaukar is second choice on the morning line at 4-1. Lee Lewis' Strategic Partner is at 5-1 and Double S Stable's French Charmer and F. Eugene Dixon Jr.'s Political Attack are at 6-1.

Sardaukar, claimed for $100,000 by Gill and trainer Mark Shuman out of an optional claiming event on Jan. 24, was a closing third behind Man From Wicklow and Just Listen last out in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT). That race was at 1 3/8 mile, and the 7-year-old Sardaukar has a much better record at 8 1/2 fulongs – three wins and a third in four starts. Cornelio Velasquez rides for the first time.

Strategic Partner, trained by Mark Hennig, was third in an allowance race here on Feb. 10, his first start in nearly 10 months. The 5-year-old son of Kris S. was a stakes winner on turf at 3, but made only one start last year, a fifth in the Fort Marcy Handicap (g. IIIT). John Velazquez, who has won aboard the horse, gets the call again.

Harry Benson trains French Charmer, a 4-year-old son of French Deputy who has won his last two starts in allowance company, one at Calder and one here. The gelding makes his stakes debut in the Canadian Turf with Eibar Coa aboard for the third straight time.

Political Attack was third in the optional claimer on Jan. 24 where Sardaukar was claimed. A 4-year-old by Hawk Attack, the Michael Matz-trained runner won the Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) when it was run on the main track. That race on Jan. 1, 2002, was his most recent score. Mark Guidry gets the call.

$100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 & up, 1 1/6 mile on turf
PP Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 *Regency Park (KY), 113, John R. Velazquez
2 Sardaukar (GB), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
3 Strategic Partner (KY), 114, John R. Velazquez
4 French Charmer (KY), 114, Eibar Coa
5 Political Attack (KY), 113, Mark Guidry
6 *Saint Verre (FL), 113, Mark Guidry
7 Miesque's Approval (FL), 116, Jerry D. Bailey
8 Rakoon (MD), 114, Manuel Aguilar
9 First Lieutenant (KY), 113, Pat Day
(*) main track only