King’s Fortune Making Turf Debut in $100,000 Cutler Bay
Lady Hamilton Tests Win Streak in $100,000 Sanibel Island
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – With a debut victory on his resume, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ King’s Fortune will get his first test on what Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher thinks is his preferred surface Saturday in the $100,000 Cutler Bay at Gulfstream Park.
The Cutler Bay for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Sanibel Island for 3-year-old fillies, each sprinting 7 ½ furlongs on the turf, are among 10 stakes, five graded, worth $2.35 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program anchored by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa for 3-year-olds. The eighth running of the Cutler Bay drew a field of nine and the ninth running of the Sanibel Island had 10 entries.
First race post time is 11:30 a.m.
King’s Fortune, a member of the first crop by 2022 top freshman sire Bolt d’Oro, was scheduled to debut on turf on Feb. 4 but, due to wet conditions, the race was moved to Gulfstream’s Tapeta course. Starting from the fifth post position in the field of 11, he rallied from mid-pack in the stretch to win by 1½ lengths under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
“He’s bred for the grass on the bottom side,” Pletcher said. “We just felt like we wanted to try him on the grass in his debut. It ended up he took to the synthetic fine, but we feel like he’s going to prefer the turf.”
Bred by Spendthrift Farm, King’s Fortune is out of Royal Ocean, an Australian-bred mare by Fastnet Rock. Pletcher is training the colt for Niall and Colin Brennan and Susan Moulton. Ortiz Jr. will be aboard when King’s Fortune leaves from Post 8.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. entered two in the Cutler Bay, Michael Iavarone’s Harry Time and Spy Novel.
Irish-bred Harry Time began his career in Europe and the chestnut promptly won his debut, but was well-beaten in his next four starts, all turf sprint stakes on straight courses.
Since being imported and turned over to Joseph, he has raced twice at Gulfstream with better results: third at 7 ½ furlongs on Jan. 14, and second to Far Bridge at 1 1/16 miles on March 11.
“He ran a good race last time. He got a perfect trip and was just second-best to a nice horse from [trainer Christophe] Clement,” Joseph said. “I think 7 ½ is going to be more ideal for him. I think he’ll have a good chance.”
Harry Time drew Post 3 and Leonel Reyes will ride for the second time.
Spy Novel will be making his second start for owner Ken Ramsey and Joseph, who acquired the Pennsylvania-bred for $25,000 in January.
“We claimed him and he won for us in the starter allowance,” Joseph said. “He’s taking a jump up in class and needs to improve but he’s a useful horse. After we claimed him he won back nicely for us with a solid Beyer [Speed Figure]. He could improve. This is going to be class test for him.”
Edgard Zayas picks up the mount on Spy Novel, who drew Post 5.
Ivette Chambless’ gray colt Drinking Problem broke badly and finished last of eight in his career debut over a sloppy track in December. Trainer Jose Garoffalo tried him next in a turf sprint on Jan. 6 where he left the gate alertly, showed speed and won by three lengths. Using his speed again on Feb. 2, he won a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance by three-quarters of a length. The son of Gormley drew Post 2 in the Cutler Bay.
Behind Enemy Lines will make his first start for trainer Jack Sisterson. The son of Sioux Nation was bred in Great Britain and made two starts in Ireland for trainer Joseph O’Brien and owner Justin Casse. He had a troubled trip in his first career start in August at the Curragh, but posted an easy win on the all-weather course at Dundalk on Jan. 4. Behind Enemy Lines, now owned by Talla Racing, Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from Post 4.
Completing the field in the Cutler Bay are the Ontario-bred Cool Kiss; Dunedin, a son of Munnings; The Elkstone Group’s Smoke Lightning; and Anglophile, a chestnut by English Channel trained by Brian Lynch.
Lady Hamilton Tests Win Streak in $100,000 Sanibel Island
Peachtree Stable’s finicky Lady Hamilton, riding a two-race win streak steps into stakes company for the first time in the $100,000 Sanibel Island. She drew Post 7 and will be ridden again by Edgard Zayas.
The daughter of the late sire Lord Nelson finally made it to the winner’s circle in her fourth career start and first on turf, in a 7 ½-furlong maiden claimer on Jan. 6. She followed that success with a two-length score at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 1.
“We’re just taking a chance with her,” Joseph said. “She’s two-for-two on the grass. She’s stepping up in class but she’s a homebred for Peachtree so we’re going to give her a chance in the stake and see how we get on.”
Lady Hamilton has been a challenge for Joseph to figure out during the early stages of her career.
“She’s always worked pretty good on the dirt but her first dirt race was atrocious,” he said. “She works very good but she doesn’t want to run on it. Since we got her on the grass, obviously it was down in class but she’s won well twice, including when she broke her maiden and she got carried super wide and she still won.
“She’s much better on the grass,” he added. “She’s turned into a useful filly and we’re going to give her a try against these kinds of horses. She might win a stake later in the summer, but we’ll see how she is right now.”
Trainer Christophe Clement entered two fillies: Love Appeals, a Moyglare Stud Farm homebred, and Breath Away, co-owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco and Tango Uniform Racing. Love Appeals is a daughter of Speightstown who won her career debut at the Sanibel distance on Feb. 16. Joel Rosario will ride her again and they will leave from Post 2.
Jose Ortiz takes over for Rosario on the British-bred Breath Away. She won her debut race on turf on Jan. 8 and was second by a nose on Feb. 12 trying allowance company over the Tapeta surface at a mile and 70 yards on Feb. 12.
WinStar Farm homebred Aunt Shirley faces three firsts when she leaves from Post 9 with Irad Ortiz Jr. It will be her first race on turf and first start for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher in her first start since the Spinaway (G1) Sept. 4 at Saratoga. Rodolphe Brisset handled the daughter of Triple Crown winner Justify in her two-race 2-year-old season. She won a five-furlong maiden race in the mud at Ellis Park on Aug. 5, but broke last and was never a factor in the historic Spinaway sprinting seven furlongs on dirt.
Mrs. Astor, an Augustin Stable homebred trained by Jonathan Thomas, broke her maiden on Jan. 29 in her third career start. She is by Lookin at Lucky out of Casual, a half-sister to Biofuel, a two-time division champion and the 2010 Horse of the Year in Canada. She drew the rail and will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Completing the field are Holly Crest Farm’s Riding Pretty; Faccia Bella, co-owned by Joseph Scurto and Brian Schiewe; NBS Stable’s Mohawk Trail; She’s a Joy, co-owned by Kevin Dole and trainer Ron Spatz; and Rocket Ship Racing’s Metaphysical, who was fourth, beaten two lengths last time out when fourth in the Sweetest Chant (G3) Feb. 4 at Gulfstream.