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Albertus Maximus returns after winning the 2009 Donn Handicap

2009 Donn Handicap Weekend Results

Date: 02/01/2009

The $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park is the first major race of the year for the North American older horse division. A field of 10 older horses went to the post for the 1 1/8 mile race on the main track Saturday under sunny skies with temperatures only in the mid 60's. Meadowlands Cup winner Arson Squad was sent off as the 5-2 favorite exiting a close fourth in the Cigar Mile last out. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Albertus Maximus, winner of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, and 7-2 third choice Einstein, winner of the Clark Handicap.

30-1 outsider Finallymadeit opened up a 1 1/2 length lead on the clubhouse turn and set a pace of 23.48, 47.00, and 1:11.75, while being pressed by Albertus Maximus to his outside the whole way. At the top of the stretch, jockey Alan Garcia asked Albertus Maximus to challenge for the lead. The pair battled head to head through most of the stretch run, getting the mile in 1:37.39, but in the final strides Albertus Maximus pushed ahead to win by just 1/2 a length in 1:50.96 over the fast main track. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Einstein third, and 3 3/4 more to late-running favorite Arson Squad fourth.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 2  Albertus Maximus     Garcia         8.20   4.80   3.20
 1  Finallymadeit        Nunez                26.20  11.00
10  Einstein             Leparoux                     3.60

$1 Exacta  2-1                179.40
$2 Trifecta 2-1-10            523.60
$1 Superfecta 2-1-10-7      1,900.20
Winning Time:  1:50.96
Results Chart

Winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "He's trained great on the dirt and obviously handled it well today (after racing on synthetic tracks). He's a very professional racehorse. We're just grateful Sheikh Hamdan bought him after he won the Breeders' Cup (Dirt Mile) at Santa Anita and sent him to us. It's great for us have a horse like this in the barn. We can look forward to going to Dubai now ($6 million World Cup) with the same team that took Invasor two years ago. Hopefully, Alan (Garcia) gets to go, too, but that's up to Sheikh Hamdan."   

Saratoga Sinner with Julien Leparoux up

The undercard feature on Saturday was the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3), for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles, and it is one of the local preps for the Florida Derby and ultimately the Triple Crown. A field of 10 faced the starter on Saturday, with undefeated Danger to Society sent off as the 9-5 favorite in his first stakes attempt. In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice and Kentucky Cup Juvenile winner West Side Bernie, exiting a runner-up finish in the Delta Jackpot, and 5-1 third choice Beethoven, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club last out.

34-1 Bear's Rocket was sent to the front immediately by jockey Kent Desormeaux, getting fractions of 23.62, 47.88, and 1:12.73 while a length in front of 12-1 Saratoga Sinner who stalked him the whole way. At the top of the stretch, Saratoga Sinner moved up to challenge for the lead, passing Bear's Rocket with a furlong remaining. Bear's Rocket continued to fight the rest of the way but Saratoga Sinner crossed the line 3/4 length ahead in 1:51.45. It was another 3 lengths back from Bear's Rocket to West Side Bernie third, while favorite Danger to Society finished seventh.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 4  Saratoga Sinner      Leparoux      26.80  14.20   7.40
 3  Bear's Rocket        Desormeaux           27.80  11.40
10  West Side Bernie     Trujillo                     3.60

$1 Exacta  4-3                580.80
$2 Trifecta 4-3-10          1,942.30
$1 Superfecta 4-3-10-11     5,184.70
Winning Time:  1:51.45
Results Chart

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "Everything was good today. Exactly, what I wanted. We started good, broke good. I just tried to stay with Kent (Desormeaux on Bear's Rocket)) the whole time and not lose (touch of him). We didn't have a lot of room. We got some around the three-eighths pole, but Kent got an excellent ride from his horse and made it real tough. I was just trying to stay in good position. It worked out at the end for all of us. I don't know what's next. Hopefully, I have a future with him and ride again."

Winning trainer Eddie Kenneally said, "After he broke his maiden in his last race, Julien (jockey Leparoux) came back and said he's even better than he showed. He ran a little green that day. So we decided that we go ahead and step him up to this race rather than run back in an allowance race. He's had two wins over the track at 1 1/8 miles, so we'll definitely be pointing for the Florida Derby (Mar. 28). I don't know if he'll run again before then, but he won't go back to a one-turn race again."

Nicanor finishing 11th

Between the two graded stakes races was a 1 mile maiden race, with a field of 12 three-year-olds going for a $40,000 purse. However, the eyes of the racing world were on 5-2 second choice Nicanor, the full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, making his first career start with the same trainer, jockey, and owners as his older brother. He was bet down to odds of only 2.60-1 as the second favorite, likly due to sentimental bets being placed by Barbaro's many fans. It was not to be however, as he got off to a poor start, was rushed up to join the pack near early down the backstretch, and had nothing left for the stretch run, fading to finish 10th.
Results Chart

His jockey Edgar Prado said, "(Nicanor's) better than that.  I've worked him in the mornings and he showed me a lot .  He broke really fast and unfortunately grabbed his let quarter.  We'll just have to see how long it takes to heal, but I know he's better than that."

His trainer Michael Matz said, "He grabbed the quarter (heel) of the left front leg leaving the gate. He wasn't comfortable, so Edgar just wrapped up on him."

Frolic's Dream with Jermaine Bridgmohan up

Friday afternoon Gulfstream Park hosted two graded stakes races on for 3-year-old sprinters under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's. The first of these was the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G2), a 7 furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies. A field of six went to post, with Frolic's Dream sent off as the 3-2 favorite exiting a close third place finish in the Old Hat Stakes last time out after winning her first three starts in a row. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice C.S. Silk, second in the Delta Princess at Delta Downs last time out, and 3-1 third choice Gemswick Park, winner of the Old Hat after finishing third in the Tempted.

Gemswick Park battled for the lead with Frolic's Dream down the backstretch through quick fractions of 22.86 and 45.84 over the fast main track, with 6-1 fourth choice Dr. Zic stalking them in third the whole way. Turning for home, Gemswick tired and faded to finish fifth, as Frolic's Dream opened up a 5 length advantage at the 1/8 pole after 3/4 in 1:10.84. 15-1 Renda rallied from fifth but was left with too much ground to make up, as Frolic's Dream cruised under the line 2 1/2 lengths in front in a time of 1:24.15. It was a long 10 lengths back to Dr. Zic third.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 5  Frolic's Dream       Bridgmohan     5.00   3.20   2.20
 2  Renda                Prado                 8.80   3.80
 6  Dr. Zic              Lezcano                      3.20

$1 Exacta  5-2                 41.60
$2 Trifecta 5-2-6              99.40
$1 Superfecta 5-2-6-3         326.20
Winning Time:  1:24.15
Results Chart

Winning trainer Marty Wolfson said, "The race set up the way I hoped. She was able to sit outside off the rail behind (Gemswick Park). She got all that speed, but had learned to relax even on the lead. She ran today pretty much like she did when she won the 7/8 eighths race at Calder (Joe O'Farrell). She probably should be undefeated. If she draws an outside post rather than inside in her last race (Old Hat Stakes, beaten a head), she probably wins it. I think 7/8 is her game and her limit might be a one-turn mile. We'll see."

Winning jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan said, "There was nothing difficult about the ride. We broke really well. I knew she was going to be in there the whole time, and when I asked her to give me a little more, she responded. Once we hit the 1/4 pole I felt pretty good she was going to pull through. This is the nicest filly I've ever ridden in my life, and Mr. Wolfson just does a great job with her. You have to give him a lot of credit. Unfortunately we hit the gate last time and couldn't make up enough ground, and we still almost took it."

Capt. Candyman Can with Julien Leparoux up

Also on Friday, the boys went the same distance in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2), in what is traditionally one of the early Triple Crown prep races. Hello Broadway, second in the Nashua last time out, was the 2-1 favorite in the field of six, over 5-2 second choice Break Water Edison, who defeated Hello Broadway in the Nashua after finishing eighth in the Champagne. 3-1 Capt. Candyman Can, third in the Kentucky Jockey Club after winning the Iroquois, completed the top three on the board.

Hello Broadway set the early pace under pressure by Capt. Candyman Can and 4-1 Rocketing Returns through a quarter in 23.76 and a half in 46.14. Entering the stretch, jockey Julien Leparoux moved Capt. Candyman Can wide for the drive and he easily passed the pacesetting favorite at the 3/16 pole, getting 3/4 in 1:10.83. Through the stretch he steadily increased his lead, finishing up 1 1/2 lengths in front in a time of 1:23.69. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to 35-1 longest shot Bee Cee Cee third.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 3  Capt. Candyman Can   Leparoux       7.40   3.80   2.80
 4  Hello Broadway       Prado                 3.40   2.60
 2  Bee Cee Cee          Velasquez                    3.80

$1 Exacta  3-4                 21.60
$2 Trifecta 3-4-2              85.90
$1 Superfecta 3-4-2-5         404.30
Winning Time:  1:23.69
Results Chart

Winning trainer Ian Wilkes said, "All we were looking for from him today was to relax. We've been teaching him to (relax) in the mornings, but until they do it in the afternoon you don't know whether they get it. Julien was able to get him back out of there (early speed duel down backstretch) and he came on from there. The second horse (Hello Broadway) ran a great race, too, and never gave up. We'll talk it over with the owners, but the Fountain of Youth Stakes would certainly be logical."

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He was very good today. I was able to back him off (at the rail) and take him to the outside. It wasn't a problem. I wanted to keep him in the clear from there. There were no excuses today. A lot can happen between now and (the Kentucky Derby). We still have a lot to do. The big difference today was he listened. His last race, he went to the front and wouldn't listen. Today, he was good."

Lady Carlock winner of the Suwannee River Stakes (G3)

Sunday at Gulfstream Park featured the older turf divisions, starting with the $125,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Conditions were ideal with a firm course, sunny skies, and temperatures in the low 70's. Canadian champion turf female Callwood Dancer was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 8, exiting a runner-up finish in the My Charmer Handicap at Calder last out. In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Tejida, winner of an allowance/optional claimer last out, and 9-2 third choice Waquoit's Love, winner of the Marshua's River three weeks back.

8-1 Flibberjibit battled on the pace with Tejida through fractions of 24.63, 49.41, and 1:12.50, with 8-1 Mushka stalking them out wide in third. Entering the stretch, Mushka moved up to challenge, taking over the lead at the 1/8 pole after a mile in 1:35.87. However, 14-1 Lady Carlock, who was last for the first 6 furlongs, came out wide into the stretch and closed with a rush to get up by a head in the final strides in 1:47.65 over the firm course. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 15-1 longest shot Drop a Line third. Favorite Callwood Dancer raced in seventh early but showed no late rally, finishing fifth.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 2  Lady Carlock         Bridgmohan    29.60  13.80   8.00
 8  Mushka               Desormeaux            9.00   7.20
 4  Drop a Line          Dominguez                   11.00

$1 Exacta  2-8                247.20
$2 Trifecta 2-8-4           1,597.10
$1 Superfecta 2-8-4-1       8,647.20
Winning Time:  1:47.65
Results Chart

Winning trainer Carl Nafzger said, "She's an easy filly to train. You just point her in the right direction and she does what you ask. She's been Graded stakes-placed before, but this is her first stakes win and it's Graded. I was concerned that the pace might not be fast enough up front, but she got there. She's good and sound and will go on and race this year." 

Kip Deville winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1)

The males competed in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), also run at 1 1/8 miles. Court Vision was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 9, exiting two straight wins in the Jamaica at Belmont and the Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park. 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Kip Deville was the 5-2 second choice, exiting a poor 9th place showing in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile after finishing second in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Mile. 3-1 Red Rocks, winner of the 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf, completed the top three on the board, exiting a 10th place showing in the 2008 Turf at Santa Anita after defeating Curlin in the Man O'War.

As expected, regular rider Cornelio Velasquez sent Kip Deville to the front immediately, and he set a pace of 24.22, 47.44, and 1:11.21 while being pressed by 26-1 Pick Six to his inside. Turning for home, Kip Deville pulled away from the tiring Pick Six, as the closers made their moves to the front. However, Kip Deville held off late-running 25-1 Just as Well to prevail by 3/4 length in a time of 1:45.70. It was another head back to favorite Court Vision third.

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 8  Kip Deville          Velasquez      7.00   5.20   3.20
 1  Just as Well         Leparoux             17.00   6.80
 4  Court Vision         Dominguez                    3.00

$1 Exacta  8-1                126.60
$2 Trifecta 8-1-4             171.00
$1 Superfecta 8-1-4-2         950.20
Winning Time:  1:45.70
Results Chart

Winning jockey John Velasquez said, "Once we broke clear, I knew we had a pretty good shot. Coming down the stretch, I wasn't even thinking about the one (Just As Well) or four (Court Vision,) I knew we would have enough."

Winning trainer Richard Dutrow Jr, said, "Kip has natural speed and is a push-button horse. He settled in nicely and Cornelio did a great job. Naturally I had to be concerned when the field closed in on him coming into the stretch, but Kip showed up today, and that's what we needed to win. We'll see what the (Dubai Duty Free) looks like, and if it's a stretch to go all the way there and run him 1 1/8 again, we can always go back to Keeneland (Maker's Mark Mile) and try to get another Grade 1. Our main objective with him this year is to get an Eclipse Award."

Some photographs courtesy of

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