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Gulfstream News & Notes - December 27, 2018

Dec 27, 2018

Pay Any Price Back in Action in Saturday’s $100,000 Janus
Norm Casse Seeking First Gulfstream Stakes Win Saturday
Miz Mayhem Aims for 5th 2018 Stakes Win in Abundantia

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Things haven’t gone Pay Any Price’s way of late, but the North American record-holder for five furlongs on turf will seek to give Averill Racing and Matties Racing something to cheer about in Saturday’s $100,000 Janus Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Janus, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up, has been carded as Race 4 on Saturday’s 11-race program that will also feature the $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up, the $100,000 Abundantia, a five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds fillies, and the $75,000 Via Borghese, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares.

Pay Any Price, who is scheduled to seek his fifth consecutive victory and 16th win in a 25-race career in the Janus, has been idle since winning the Tamiami Handicap at Gulfstream Sept. 16 due to a couple of unforeseen circumstances.

The 8-year-old gelding, who won the 2017 Silks Run at Gulfstream in 53.61 seconds to set a North American mark for five furlong on turf, was being pointed to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, only to be excluded from the field by the selection committee.

“I was devastated. I was really upset. I always wanted to run in the Breeders’ Cup with a legit chance. I’m not going to go if I don’t think we have a chance, but we really thought we had a chance and did everything in preparation to get him there. Unfortunately, the voters didn’t see it out way,” owner Rich Averill said.

Pay Any Price made it into the starting gate at Tampa Bay Downs for the Turf Dash Dec. 1 but was scratched due to an incident in the starting gate.

“He was the ‘7’ and the ‘6’ broke out of the gate. When the ‘6’ popped, he thought it was time to go and he popped. The outrider grabbed him so he wouldn’t go, and when he turned him, (jockey Edgard) Zayas went flying and wasn’t able to hold on and the horse got loose,” Averill said. “(Pay Any Price) is scared of other horses. He didn’t run off. He was right there. For whatever reason the outriders didn’t get off their ponies and walk up to him, but they kept chasing him with the ponies. Luckily nothing happened. He came out of it fine.

“It’s been back-to-back, not getting into the Breeders’ Cup and being at Tampa with a bunch of family and friends and to get scratched was awful,” Averill added. Pay Any Price, who has won 12 of 16 starts over the Gulfstream turf course, has been rated at 7-5 in the morning line for the Janus, which drew a field of nine and a main-track-only entrant. Zayas has the call.

Mr. Amore Stable’s Vision Perfect, who defeated Pay Any Price in the Silks Run March 10, is rated at 7-2 in the morning line for the Janus. The Jason Servis-trained 6-year-old finished 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint but rebounded to win the Turf Dash at Tampa last time out. Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to be aboard the graded stakes-winning son of Pollard’s Vision.

Hogy, who captured the mile Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream March 3, is an 18-race winner and $1.3 million earner who also will bet well supported at the mutuel windows.

Norm Casse Seeking First Gulfstream Stakes Win Saturday

Norm Casse, a longtime assistant for his father Mark Casse before going out on his own earlier this year, recently notched the first victory of his training career at Gulfstream Dec. 23. The 35-year-old trainer will seek to win his first stakes at Gulfstream Park Saturday in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks.

Casse, who visited the Gulfstream winner’s circle with Marylou Whitney’s Hard Legacy after an optional claiming allowance victory last Sunday, will saddle Angel of Mischief for the Oaks.

The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief launched her career with a close second-place finish at Ellis Park on dirt before winning back-to-back races on turf at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland while equipped with blinkers.

“I think she’s pretty versatile. I think she can do both things and down the road we might see her running on the dirt, but Kentucky Downs obviously offers lucrative purses and it seemed like a natural fit to try her on the grass. She won so impressively it was hard to justify trying her back on dirt. She won the a-other-than at Keeneland,” Casse said. After winning a $135,000 six-furlong turf sprint at Kentucky Downs Sept. 9, Glencrest Farm and Hold Your Horses Inc.’s filly closed from far back to win a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance going away by 1 ¾ lengths Oct. 11. She made a strong middle move before faltering to finish seventh over a yielding Churchill Downs turf course in the Mrs. Revere (G2) last time out.

“The last race was a disappointment but we believe she didn’t handle the soft turf and it’s just a throw-out,” Casse said.

In his first year of training a public stable, Casse has saddled 15 winners from 89 starters.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far. We set out a goal to win 10 races and we’ve won 15. We had a Breeders’ Cup starter within our first six months of training, which was something to be very excited and proud of,” said Casse, who saddled graded stakes-placed Bella Luna for a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) Nov. 2. “I’m proud of the fact that we’re not only winning races but winning races for legendary people like Glencrest Farm and Marylou Whitney.”

Julien Leparoux, who was aboard Angel of Mischief for her back-to-back wins, returns to the saddle after a one-race absence.

The Tropical Park Oaks attracted a full field of 14 sophomore fillies and a pair of main-track entrants. Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Too Cool to Dance, who hasn’t finished worse than second in five lifetime starts for trainer Chad Brown, has been rated as the 7-2 morning-line favorite.

Graded-stakes winners Andina Del Sur and Go Noni Go, as well as stakes winners American Frolic, Peach of a Gal, Takechargedelilah, Hogan’s Holiday and She’s Pretty Lucky, will also merit consideration by handicappers.

Miz Mayhem Aims for 5th 2018 Stakes Win in Abundantia

Laurie Plesa’s Miz Mayhem will aim for her fifth stakes victory of 2018 in Saturday’s $100,000 Abundantia at Gulfstream Park, where the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained 3-year-old filly is slated to meet a full field of 14 fillies and mares.

The homebred daughter of Yesbyjimminy, who will seek her seventh win in her last eight starts in the five-furlong turf sprint, most recently captured the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Down Dec. 1 with an off-the-place 1 1/4-length score. Edgard Zayas has the return call aboard the 5-1 third choice in the morning line behind 7-2 Morticia and 4-1 Girls Know Best.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Morticia, who finished fourth behind Miz Mayhem at Tampa Bay Downs, is a graded-stakes winner who has won two of three starts on Gulfstream turf. Triton Stable, Brian Chenvert and trainer Eddie Kenneally’s Girls Know Best finished second in last year’s Abundantia after capturing the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream in January.

Stronach Stables’ Holy Helena will drop from graded-stakes company for the $75,000 Via Borghese Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where she has won both of her starts over the turf course.

The 2017 Queen’s Plate winner, who captured the Very One (G3) at Gulfstream in March, has made six consecutive starts in graded-stakes company coming into the Via Borghese, most recently finishing third in the Turnback the Alarm (G3) over Aqueduct’s main track Nov. 18.

The James Jerkens-trained 4-year-old filly is rated as the 5-2 morning-line favorite against 12 rivals. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount.

Oak Bluff Stables’ Therapist is rated as the 7-2 morning-line favorite in the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, which drew a full field of 14 3-year-olds. The Christophe Clement-trained colt won the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream on the 2018 Florida Derby undercard before going on two win back-to-back New York-bred stakes at Belmont and Saratoga.

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