Greatest Honour Back at Gulfstream for G3 Ghostzapper
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Courtlandt Farms’ Greatest Honour is scheduled to make his long-awaited return to Gulfstream Park, the site of the son of Tapit’s greatest performances of his career thus far, to run in Saturday’s $100,000 Ghostzapper (G3), one of 10 stakes worth $2.2 million on a program headlined by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa.
Greatest Honour finished third in last year’s Florida Derby, closing from far back to finish 5 3/5 lengths behind victorious Known Agenda. The 4-year-old colt had earned 4-5 favoritism in last year’s Florida Derby off a string of three straight victories at Gulfstream, graduating in his fourth career start, capturing the Holy Bull (G3) by 5 ¾ lengths, and winning the Fountain of Youth (G2) with a late rush.
Greatest Honour went to the sidelines for nearly a year following the Florida Derby, returning to action in the 1 1/16-mile Challenger (G3) March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing a disappointing sixth, five lengths behind the winner.
“I wanted to run him in New York in a one-turn allowance going a mile. I just didn’t feel like the race would fill, so I took the horse to Tampa around two turns on a little deeper track,” McGaughey said. “I didn’t think he ran too bad for his first start. He kind of broke sharp and was a little closer than he usually is. He came out of it good and got a solid race. He’s not the best work horse in the world, so I think the race is going to help him.”
Greatest Honour’s past successes at Gulfstream have given McGaughey reason to expect a much- improved performance Saturday.
“That was our thinking. They have the Excelsior in New York the same weekend, but I said, ‘He’s run well here. He’s only an hour-and-a-half up the road.’” McGaughey said. “We’re looking forward to running him.”
Greatest Honour will return to Gulfstream a bigger, more willing Thoroughbred.
“He’s a big, tall kind of horse. Last year, you had to sort of make him do what he’s does. This year, he does it without really even asking him, even in his gallops,” McGaughey said. “I’m pleased with what he’s doing, but, like I say, racing is his friend.”
Jose Ortiz has the return mount aboard Greatest Honour.
Repole Stable’s Fearless, who has also demonstrated a distinct fondness for the Gulfstream Park racetrack, enters the Ghostzapper off a second-place finish behind red-hot Speaker’s Corner in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), a one-turn mile stakes he had captured in 2021.
A son of Ghostzapper, the 6-year-old gelding captured the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Dec. 12 in his second start off a six-month layoff. The Todd Pletcher trainee finished second behind Speaker’s Corner in the mile Fred W. Hooper (G3) prior to the Gulfstream Park Mile.
Luis Saez will be back aboard Fearless Saturday.
A.J. Suited Racing Stable LLC’s Commandeer is set to make his first start Saturday since finishing seventh in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 29 at Gulfstream. The Jimmy Toner-trained 4-year-old son of Street Boss had entered the Pegasus off a pair of optional claiming allowance wins at Laurel Park and Churchill Downs.
Tyler Gaffalione has the call aboard Commandeer.
Chestnut Hill Stable’s Capocostello is scheduled to make his second U.S. start since arriving from Panama, where 6-year-old son of Cross Traffic was a multiple Group 1 winner. The Fausto Gutierrez-trained gelding finished fourth behind Olympiad in an optional claiming allowance in his U.S. debut.
Irad Ortiz is slated to ride Capocostello for the first time Saturday.
Three Chimneys Farm, Fern Circle Stables and C&H Diamond Racing LLC’s Laughing Boy, who showed the way before coming up just short to finish second behind Commander in a Nov. 25 optional claiming allowance at Churchill Downs, is scheduled to make his 2022 debut in the Ghostzapper. The son of Distorted Humor won a first-level allowance at Keeneland in his previous start.
Julien Leparoux has the mount.
Good Friends II LLC’s Carlos L., a stakes winner at Oakland in 2021 who is slated to make his 2022 debut Saturday, and Magic Cap Stables’ Twelve Volt Man, who won the Claiming Crown Jewel two starts back, round out the field