LeComte Stakes Day
Eclipse Award Finalists
American Oaks Day
Malibu Stakes day
Javier Castellano and Wake Forest head to the winner's circle after the Fountain of Youth Stakes
Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, in addition to the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) there were eight other stakes races. Immediately before the Fountain of Youth, a field of 11 older horses contested the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) over 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Red Smith Handicap (G3) and Canadian International (G1) third place finisher Wake Forest was the 2-1 favorite over 4-1 Bigger Picture, winner of the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3), and 6-1 Danish Dynaformer, 8th in the W.L. McKnight (G3).
29-1 Reporting Star set the pace of 24.18, 47.88, 1:13.70, and 1:38.23 while pressed by 75-1 Smooth Daddy and stalked by 8-1 Charming Kitten. Entering the lane Reporting Star continued to lead through 10f in 2:01.78, but Wake Forest, 6th early under Javier Castellano, rallied 7 wide and held off 9-1 Patterson Cross to win by a head in 2:13.54. It was a neck back to pacesetter Reporting Star third.
Left: Wake Forest in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "Given the trip he got Javier really did a good job the first couple turns saving a lot of ground. He had no choice but to go that wide turning for home. I thought maybe it would take a little starch out of him those last few strides. But I will tell you this horse showed a lot of heart. We're really proud of him. I think I'll run him one more time between now and the Man o'War. Maybe one more start here in the Pan American and then maybe on to the Man o'War after that."
Right: Wake Forest in the post parade. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a beautiful trip. I saved the ground, I didn't want to be too far back, but I didn't want to be too close to the pace either. Everything unfolded the right way. I save all the ground the first two turns and then I took a shot and took him to the outside, and he gave me his run. He's a phenomenal horse."
Left: Second place finisher Patterson Cross returns after the race.
Right: Third place finisher Reporting Star leads first time by.
The $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) featured a field of 9 older horses going 1 mile on the turf. Fort Lauderdale (G2) fourth place finisher and last year's winner Heart to Heart was the 6-5 favorite over 7-2 Projected, unraced since 7th in the Prix du Pin at Longchamp in September, and 6-1 Giant Run, winner of the Tropical Park Derby on New Year's Eve. Jockey Julien Leparoux sent Heart to Heart to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 22.94, 46.25, and 1:09.57 while pressed by 78-1 Vision Perfect and stalked by 7-1 Conquest Panthera. In the stretch, Heart to Heart opened up a 2 length advantage through 7f in 1:21.06, and easily held off late-running 12-1 Bondurant by 3/4 length in 1:32.63 over the firm going. It was another 3/4 length back to Conquest Panthera third.
Left: Heart to Heart in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brian Lynch said, "This is the pride and joy of our barn. I've been preaching all week that he's never trained better. I always say he runs the turns like a rat in a barrel. I think they underestimate how much he gets away from them when he runs the turn, and I think that was the case today. There's no one who fits him better. Julien has a lot of confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in Julien."
Right: Heart to Heart in the paddock. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "I thought I would be on the lead a little bit easier, actually. They put a little bit of pressure on me which they had to do. The thing today was when I got to the quarter pole and asked him, he really kicked at the end. Last time he dind't really do it and today he was back to himself. He ran a big race. He's a horse you kind of leave him alone. He likes to run free so when he breaks good and he's on the lead I just kind of leave him alone. He relaxed by himself on the backside. Usually when you get on him at the quarter pole he just levels off and kicks very nice at the end."
Left: Second place finisher Bondurant heads into the paddock before the race.
Right: Third place finisher Conquest Panthera gallops back after the race.
A field of 9 three-year-olds contested the $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) over 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) fourth place finisher Ticonderoga was the 5-2 favorite over 3-1 Snap Decision, a maiden winner last out, and 7-2 Cowboy Culture, winner of the Keith Gee Memorial. 24-1 Sailing Home set the pace of 23.34, 47.58, and 1:11.22 while pressed by 5-1 Kitten's Cat and stalked by 27-1 Adonis Creed. Into the lane, Kitten's Cat gained a short lead through 1 mile in 1:34.62 but favorite Ticonderoga, 8th and 5 lengths off the pace early under Joel Rosario, came out 3 wide and rallied to win by a length in 1:40.38. It was another length from Kitten's Cat back to late-running Snap Decision third.
Left: Ticonderoga in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "He broke fine and he kind of settled himself. I think that's the way he likes to run. I just gave him a chance ,and coming to the 5/16 I can see Luis (Saez, aboard Kitten's Cat) coming out a little bit so I kind of stayed inside and saved a little ground, and it opened up. He was just much the best horse today. He's a very talented horse."
Right: Ticonderoga heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "He's kind of a quirky horse. He was tough to figure out. We've made some changes with equipment. I'm just proud of the horse. He's really matured mentally. It's the first time Joel has been on him. I gave him a little history about him and he executed it perfectly. I'd like to try to stretch him out eventually. We might take him to Keeneland for the Transylvania, but ultimately the Belmont Derby, if he can go 1 1/4, that's what we want to do."
Left: Second place finisher Kitten's Cat returns after the race.
Right: Third place finisher Snap Decision in the post parade.
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday, a field of 7 three-year-old fillies went 1 1/16 miles on the turf in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3). Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) runner-up Coasted was the 6-5 favorite over 9-5 Dream Dancing, 7th in the Golden Rod (G2), and 7-2 India Mantuana, second in the Ginger Brew. 30-1 Conquest Hardcandy set the pace of 23.43, 47.78, and 1:11.53 while pressed by 10-1 Sweeping Paddy and stalked by India Mantuana. In the stretch, Coasted, 4th early, moved out 4 wide to lead through 1 mile in 1:34.87, but Dream Dancing, last early under Julien Leparoux, split horses late to win by a neck in 1:40.78. It was 3/4 lengths back to 11-1 Party Boat third.
Left: Dream Dancing in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "We had a good trip. I was right behind Coasted so I was very happy. At the quarter pole I thought she would take off a little bit and I got stuck a little bit behind, but I got through inside of her and she finished good and galloped out very good. She's a nice filly and she's been doing very good lately. We're happy."
Right: Dream Dancing heads out to track. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "It cost her some momentum coming on the inside. She has turned out to be a pretty good horse. I think the further the better. She's a beautiful filly – the Oxleys bred her. We're very proud of her. It's been a Tapit kind of day so far (referring to his win with Inheritthewind in Race 2)."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Coasted returns after the race.
Right: Third place finisher Party Boat heads out to the track before the race.
Just 6 older fillies and mares contested the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at 1 3/16 miles on turf. La Prevoyante (G3) winner Suffused was the 9-10 choice over 8-5 Olorda, winner of the Bewitch (G3), and 5-1 Earring, second in the Long Island Handicap (G3). Olorda was quickest away through fractions of 22.82 and 47.21 while pressed by 23-1 Quiet Kitten and staked by 21-1 Paige. On the far turn Quiet Kitten gained a short lead through 3/4 in 1:10.64. Suffused, last early under Jose Ortiz, swept 4 wide to the front through 1 mile in 1:34.35, and drew off to win by 5 lengths over Quiet Kitten in a new course record 1:51.40. It was another 3/4 length back to Paige third.
Left: Suffused heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "From where we started last year at this point she steadily improved throughout the course of the year to where she was doing good. I was curious about the distance today because it was a huge cutback from a mile and a half. My rational is that I wanted to see how she would do at this trip because it gives us some options up the road. I liked to think she is good enough for a race like the Beverly D or the Diana, one of those two. We'll just have to see."
Right: Suffused in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "She broke well. I was expecting for her to be up closer. She relaxed well where she was back there. At the 3/8 pole, I found some room to go and once I put her in the clear she exploded."
Left: Second place finisher Quiet Kitten in the post parade.
Right: Third place finisher Paige returns after the race.
The $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) featured older horses going 1 mile around one turn on the main track. 2015 Champagne Stakes (G1) winner Greenpointcrusader was the 2-1 favorite in the field of 8 over 3-1 Bird Song, 2nd in the Hal's Hope (G3), and 7-2 War Story, 5th in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Jockey Julien Leparoux sent Bird Song to the front exiting the chute through fractions of 23.17, 46.06, and 1:10.21 while pressed by 11-1 Mr. Jordan and stalked by 12-1 Tale of S'avall and 4-1 Realm. Into the lane Bird Song opened up a 2 length lead through 7f in 1:22.82. Kept to task by Leparoux, Bird Song easily held off Realm by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:26.07. It was another 3/4 length back to Tale of S'avall third, while Greenpointcrusader checked in 7th beaten 11 3/4 lengths.
Left: Bird Song in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "Today there was not too much speed in the race, so I got him set up pretty nice, and he had a nice kick at the end. He's a nice horse. Last time he ran a big race, and today he ran an even bigger one. It's a great day so far. I'm lucky to ride good horses on these big days. I hope I get three more."
Right: Bird Song heads back to the barn after the race. Winning trainer Ian Wilkes said, "He's naturally fast. That's his cruising speed, which is good. It's great when they can do that. He's a Grade 3 winner. That's a start. I can't put into words how special it is to train a Grade 3 winner (for owner Marylou Whitney). I'd love to get a Grade 1 for her. That what the goal is – to do that for her. She's a special lady. He got a late start. Nick (Zito) had him and he always said he could run. Nick told me that. He's a good horseman. He knows. I always felt like I was playing catch-up with him last year, and I felt later in the year that he caught up where he should be."
Left: Second place finisher Realm in the post parade.
Right: Third place finisher Tale of S'avall returns after the race.
Seventh place finisher and beaten favorite Greenpoint Crusader in the post parade.
The $100,000 Sand Springs Stakes featured a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. 7-10 favorite Celestine went to the front under Jose Ortiz through fractions of 23.95, 48.25, and 1:11.91 while pressed by 8-5 Catch a Glimpse. Into the lane Celestine opened up on the field through 7f in 1:21.11, and finished 2 lengths ahead of Catch a Glimpse in 1:34.59. It was another 1 1/4 length back to 11-1 Lori's Stone third.
Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "She's a top-class mare. She came to me in very good condition and trained very well. When you get a 5-year-old from Billy Mott you know you're going to be OK." Jockey Jose Ortiz added, "Everything went perfect. She broke well and she was very alert. I just sat there and sat, sat, sat and tried to slow it down the best I could and when I asked her to go she responded very, very well. I'm very happy the way she ran and I'm looking forward to a good year with her."
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