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Gulfstream Park News & Notes

Dec 15, 2018

Gunnevera Breezes for Pegasus
Multiple Stakes Winner A Bit Special Pointed to Feb. 2 Sweetest Chant (G3)
Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Radar for Stakes Winner Well Defined
Saturday Marks Return for Former South Florida Fixture Hough

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Margoth’s multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera breezed Saturday morning over Gulfstream Park West’s main track as he continues preparations for a planned start in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – the richest Thoroughbred race in North America – Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

It was the second work for the 4-year-old Gunnevera since his runner-up finish behind likely Pegasus favorite Accelerate in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3. Both have come with Irad Ortiz Jr. up, who rode in the Classic and will return aboard in the Pegasus.

“Everything went very good,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “He went five furlongs in 1:01.2, 1:01.3. It was a very good work.”

Gunnevera, a six-time winner with more than $4 million in purse earnings from 19 career starts, ran third behind Horse of the Year Gun Runner in this year’s Pegasus. Sano plans to work the Dialed In colt again next Saturday morning.

“I am so happy with my horse,” Sano said. “Today he worked very good and he came back very fresh and looked very good.”

In addition to Gunnevera and Hronis Racing’s Accelerate, other horses confirmed for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus are Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner City of Light; Charles Fipke’s Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul, fifth in this year’s race; and Calumet Farm’s pair of Bravazo and True Timber. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined.

Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner, is also being pointed to the Pegasus and will prep for the race in today’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1).

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 1 at Aqueduct, and Stronach Stable homebreds Something Awesome, a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, and back-to-back stakes winner Unbridled Juan are also under consideration for the Pegasus.

Multiple Stakes Winner A Bit Special Pointed to Feb. 2 Sweetest Chant (G3)

Linda Shanahan, Mrs. M.V. Magnier and J.P. Magnier’s A Bit Special, impressive winner of the Wait a While Stakes Dec. 8, will test graded-stakes company for the first time when she returns to the races in 2019.

Trainer Patrick Biancone expects the British-bred daughter of Group 1 winner Mukhadram to make her sophomore debut in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the grass Feb. 2.

“She came out of the last race very good,” Biancone said. “We’re going to give her some space because we have the whole year to go. She’s going to run next time in February. We’re going to just go step by step with her.”

A Bit Special rounded the clubhouse turn three wide before settling in among the top flight in the one-mile Wait a While, then swung wide again into the stretch to come with a determined run and get up by a neck over pacesetter Fortunate Girl in 1:35.67.

It was the second straight win, both in stakes, for A Bit Special following the one-mile Our Dear Peggy Sept. 29. A debut winner going five furlongs Aug. 19, she is a neck shy of being undefeated, that being the margin of her loss in the Sharp Susan Stakes Sept. 1. All of her races have come at Gulfstream.

“She was very impressive in her maiden even though it was a bit short for her. She was very impressive in the morning anyway when she was working,” Biancone said. “We have taken it step by step and been patient so far and we’ve had fun with her.

“The only thing she doesn’t like is the whip,” he added. “The time she got beat unfortunately we didn’t know that and the jockey gave her a little smack and she switched her lead and she lost her tempo. She goes so fast she doesn’t need the whip, anyway.”

Biancone compared A Bit Special to the French-bred mare Gorella, who won four of eight starts for the trainer in 2005-06 including the Beverly D (G1), Just a Game (G2) and First Lady (G2) in 2006 and was third in both the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in 2005.

“She has an exceptional turn of foot It’s very, very, very rare. I trained one like that before in Gorella. But, Gorella’s weakness was that she had to be last to be relaxed during the race and then she had a huge turn of foot,” Biancone said. “But this one, she has the same turn of foot and you can ride her any way you want. She relaxes very quickly. She’s really something.”

Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Radar for Stakes Winner Well Defined

Stonehedge homebred stakes winner Well Defined exited his first career off-the-board finish in good order and could launch his sophomore season in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes on New Year’s Day.

The one-mile Mucho Macho Man kicks off Gulfstream’s series of races for 3-year-olds leading up to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 30 that includes the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 2 and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2, both at 1 1/16 miles.

“He’s doing super,” trainer Kathleen O’Connell said. “We’re looking at maybe bringing him back in the stake here on the first of January, the one-turn mile.”

A gelded son of Grade 3 sprint winner With Distinction, Well Defined won his unveiling June 2 at Gulfstream and after finishing third in his first try against winners, ran second by a half-length to Garter and Tie in the seven-furlong Affirmed division of the Florida Sire Stakes Sept. 1.

Well Defined avenged that loss with a front-running 7 ½-length romp over runner-up Garter and Tie in the 1 1/16-mile FSS In Reality Sept. 29, punching his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 2. Garter and Tie skipped the Breeders’ Cup and won the one-mile Smooth Air Stakes Dec. 8 at Gulfstream.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the Breeders’ Cup, Well Defined came out at the start, was in contention for a half mile and had to steady at the five-sixteenths pole before fading to finish ahead of one horse in the field of 14. He returned to the work tab with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds Dec. 2 at Tampa Bay Downs, eighth-fastest of 77.

“If you watch the break his whole ass end went out. He didn’t get bothered but it was like he broke so hard, his ass end went out from underneath him, so now he was actually a jump behind,” O’Connell said of the Breeders’ Cup. “It wasn’t terrible but it really compromised him because now he’s in the pocket on the inside, not where he really wants to be. Mike didn’t beat him up. He took care of him.”

Saturday Marks Return for Former South Florida Fixture Hough

Trainer Stanley Hough, a highly successful fixture on the South Florida circuit whose career touched parts of six decades, will start his first horses at Gulfstream in more than six years during Saturday’s stakes-filled 11-race program.

Hough will send out a pair of 2-year-old maidens for Sagamore Farm – geldings She Love Me in a seven-furlong claiming event to open the card and Not Now Rand in a one-mile maiden special weight in Race 7.

They will be the first starters at Gulfstream for Hough since winning a maiden claimer with Namron on March 30, 2012, retiring a week later. In September, as part of a reconfiguration of the racing arm of Glyndon, Md.-based Sagamore Farm, Hough took over the training of its Kentucky-based string and is spending the winter at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.

Hough had been working with Sagamore as a consultant and breaking young horses for former farm trainer Horacio Depaz, who continues to train some of the stable’s horses in Maryland along with those for outside clients.

The 70-year-old Hough has three wins, five seconds and four thirds from 22 starters since mid-September. He began training in 1969 and has amassed 2,169 wins and more than $44 million in purse earnings with 42 graded-stakes victories, and in 1996 was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Calder Race Course, now Gulfstream Park West.

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