Owned by Conquest Stables, the sophomore son of Stormy Atlantic , who is part of a field of 12 3-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes, hasn't run since finishing 11th as the favorite in the American Turf (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.
"He's been training well. I thought his last race in May was a little flat. He had a long, hard campaign. He ran as a 2-year-old into his 3-year-old year. I just stopped with him and gave him some time," trainer Mark Casse said. "He traveled North America. I just thought his last race was flat. He did have a very wide trip in that race—he was wide on both turns—but sometimes you get a wide trip when you don't have enough horse to maneuver around."
Conquest Typhoon debuted last year with a second-place finish in a stakes over Woodbine's synthetic surface before breaking his maiden two starts later in the Summer Stakes (Can-IIT) over a yielding turf course. A subsequent runner-up finish in the Grey Stakes (Can-IIIT) was followed by a late-closing fourth in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park and a victory in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Del Mar.
The Ontario-bred colt started his 3-year-old campaign this year with a third-place finish in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) on the synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields and a second-place finish in the Spiral (gr. III) at Turfway Park prior to his American Turf disappointment.
"Unfortunately, when you bring a horse of his caliber back, you don't have any conditions and have to bring him back in some pretty tough spots. But I like this race. It's against straight 3-year-olds. This will be his last shot to play with the 3-year-olds and then hopefully he can prove that he can play with the big boys," Casse said. "He got beat by less than three lengths in the Breeders' Cup and won a stake at Del Mar. I don't see any reason why he can't come back and be a good horse at 4."
Conquest Typhoon is expected to be joined in the starting gate by War Story, who also will seek to recapture his early 2015 season form in the Tropical Park Derby while making his first start on turf. Loooch Racing Stables and Glenn Ellis' gelded son of Northern Afleet finished second in both the LeComte (gr. III) and Risen Star (gr. III) before finishing third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. He went on to finish off the board in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after experiencing early traffic before running in two grade I and two grade II stakes, his best race coming in a third-place finish in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Park.
War Story will make his first start since being transferred to trainer Peter Walder's Gulfstream Park-based stable.
"It's the last straight 3-year-old race of the year. He stays with his own," Walder said. "We're going to take a shot on the grass and see what we got."
Like Conquest Typhoon, Tropical Park Derby entrant Solemn Tribute is an Ontario-bred who has demonstrated talent at Woodbine. Unlike the Casse precocious trainee, Lael Stables' gelded son of Medaglia d'Oro was a late developer. Solemn Tribute, who was winless in four starts while dropping into a $32,000 claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs, blossomed upon being transferred to trainer Bryan Lynch at Woodbine, winning back-to-back races before finishing third by the length of two heads in an allowance race. After moving on to Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training center in Palm Beach County, Solemn Tribute finished second in the Showing Up Stakes at Gulfstream Park West last time out.
"I'd like to say it's because of my superior training, but I wouldn't gamble on that," cracked Lynch of Solemn Tribute's vastly improved form. "He might have just traveled right and enjoyed Canada. He turned it around up there, and his first race down here was creditable. Hopefully, he can carry it on in the Tropical Park Derby."
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Watchyourownbobber, who defeated Solemn Tribute in the Showing Up; the Ramseys' Tweet Kitten, who won his second straight race with a victory in the Bryan Station Stakes at Belmont Park last time out; Allen Stable's Team Colors and Amerman Racing's A Lot, who finished 2-3, respectively, in the English Channel Stakes at Belmont Oct. 25; and Eh Cumpari, who captured the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Gulfstream turf last season; figure prominently in the Tropical Park Derby.
The Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, will also be contested on Saturday's program, which will be highlighted by the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III).
Al Shaqab Racing's Osaila is scheduled to make her second U.S. start for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Tropical Park Oaks, which drew 14 entries (including two also-eligibles). The Irish-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer, a multiple-stakes winner in Europe, finished an even fifth in the Sand Springs (gr. IIT) at Belmont in her U.S. debut Sept. 12.
Martin Schwartz's Light in Paris is also slated to make her second U.S. start Saturday. The Irish-bred daughter of Aussie Rules finished off the board after a slow start in the Pebbles at Belmont in October after winning four of nine starts in France. Trainer Chad Brown will also be represented by Long Lake Stable and Beacon Hill Thoroughbreds' Tammy the Torpedo, a two-time winner who finished a troubled sixth in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill last time out.
Calumet Farm's Susie Bee, winner of the Cellars Shiraz Stakes at Gulfstream Park West last time out; Glen Hill Farm's Promotional, a recent allowance winner at Aqueduct Racetrack; Haras De Saint Pair's Iromea, who captured an Aqueduct allowance in her second U.S. start since being imported from France; and Phaedrus Flights' Celestine, a three-time stakes winner who captured the Sanibel Island at Gulfstream last season; loom as strong contenders.
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 19, 2015, Race 9 Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 19, 2015, Race 11
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Enjoy the Show (MD) Edgard J. Zayas 116 James J. Toner 30/1 2 2Bucchero (IN) Luis Saez 118 Michael J. Trombetta 30/1 3 3Big Family (KY) Corey J. Lanerie 116 Gustavo Delgado 20/1 4 4Solemn Tribute (ON) Julien R. Leparoux 116 Brian A. Lynch 8/1 5 5War Story (KY) Paco Lopez 116 Peter R. Walder 10/1 6 6Eh Cumpari (KY) Jose C. Caraballo 122 Michael Dilger 20/1 7 7Element (KY) John R. Velazquez 118 Todd A. Pletcher 10/1 8 8Tweet Kitten (KY) Javier Castellano 120 Chad C. Brown 5/1 9 9Watchyourownbobber (KY) Eddie Castro 120 Michael J. Maker 8/1 10 10Conquest Typhoon (ON) Joe Bravo 122 Mark E. Casse 8/1 11 11A Lot (KY) Jose Lezcano 120 William I. Mott 7/2 12 12Team Colors (KY) Joel Rosario 116 James A. Jerkens 4/1
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Unbridled Sonya (KY) Eduardo O. Nunez 116 Roderick R. Rodriguez 30/1 2 2Iromea (IRE) Joe Bravo 120 Christophe Clement 5/1 3 3Osaila (IRE) Javier Castellano 122 Todd A. Pletcher 3/1 4 4Westminister Road (KY) Luca Panici 120 Martin D. Wolfson 20/1 5 5Celestine (KY) Jose Lezcano 120 William I. Mott 4/1 6 6Promotional (FL) Brian Pedroza 116 Thomas F. Proctor 15/1 7 7Light In Paris (IRE) John R. Velazquez 118 Chad C. Brown 6/1 8 8Red Sashay (KY) Corey J. Lanerie 120 Jane Cibelli 20/1 9 9Darling Sky (KY) Feargal Lynch 118 Robert E. Reid, Jr. 20/1 10 10Cardinal Cove (FL) Edgard J. Zayas 116 Kathleen O'Connell 30/1 11 11Tammy the Torpedo (KY) Joel Rosario 116 Chad C. Brown 6/1 12 12Susie Bee (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 120 Michael J. Maker 12/1 13 13Sokie (KY) Paco Lopez 116 George Weaver 15/1 14 14Angel Vision (IRE) Jose C. Caraballo 120 Michael Dilger 15/1
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 19, 2015, Race 9
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 19, 2015, Race 11