Lure Him In Returns to Gulfstream Tapeta for Pembroke Park
Graded-Stakes winner Sole Volante ‘Happy’ Off the Layoff
Maximo Back Doing What He Does Best in Armed Forces
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Back from his working summer vacation in California, David Berman, Jeffrey Lambert, and Robert Fetkin’s Lure Him In is scheduled to return to Gulfstream Park’s familiar Tapeta course for Saturday’s $55,000 Pembroke Park.
The Bob Hess-trained 5-year-old gelding, a most impressive winner on the all-weather surface during the Championship Meet, will clash with six talented rivals in the 1 1/16-mile overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Lure Him In demonstrated an affinity for Gulfstream’s Tapeta surface with a dominating 2 ½-length victory in the Jan. 27 Sunshine Turf that was taken off the turf and transferred to the all-weather surface.
“I loved the way he got over it that day. I thought that was one of his better if not best race,” trainer Bob Hess Jr. said.
Lure Him In ran twice more on turf before heading to California, where he finished sixth in the All American over Golden Gate Fields’ all-weather track before running twice over Del Mar’s turf, including a close-up second in an optional claiming allowance last time out.
“I thought he would run better at Golden Gate, not that he ran poorly, but I think he especially likes the Tapeta at Gulfstream Park,” Hess said.
Lure Him In has been assigned highweight of 123 pounds, between one and nine pounds more than his rivals. He is rated second at 3-1 in the morning line, along with graded-stakes winner Sole Volante, behind Lamplighter Jack, the 2-1 favorite.
“We’re excited for that spot,” Hess said. “He arrived by plane [Wednesday] night. He ate everything and we’ll give him some light training [Friday] and we’ll hope to get the ‘W’ Saturday.”
Leading rider Miguel Vasquez has the call on Lure Him In.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Sole Volante, a stakes winner on turf and dirt, is scheduled to make his debut on Tapeta in the Pembroke Park while coming off a five-month layoff.
“I don’t know if he’ll like it or not, but it gives him an opportunity for a comeback race,” trainer Patrick Biancone said.
Sole Volante, who won the Pulpit on Gulfstream’s turf course and Sam F. Davis (G3) on Tampa’s main track before running in the 2020 Belmont Stakes (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1), was turned out after finishing fifth in the April 22 Elkhorn over Keeneland’s turf course.
“We sent him to the farm for three months to relax and a well-deserved vacation because he hasn’t had a vacation since he was a 2-year-old,” Biancone said. “We’re hoping to have him well for the end of this year.”
Although Biancone isn’t sure how the 5-year-old son of Karakontie will handle the Tapeta surface, he is looking forward to getting him back in action.
“He’s training better than ever. The break has done him a lot of good. He’s got a good spirit; he’s happy,” Biancone said. “This race is the first step for, hopefully, a fruitful winter. It’s not easy to come back running against horses that have been running every three weeks. The key in this race is to bring him back to competition.”
Romero Maragh is scheduled to ride Sole Volante for the first time Saturday.
Melvin Simonovich’s Lamplighter Jack will return to the Gulfstream Tapeta course, over which had won four races in a row quite impressively prior to fifth-place finish on turf in an allowance at Kentucky Downs.
“It was a little disappointing because the horse was really sharp and doing well,” trainer Joe Orseno said. “The fractions on the front-end were just two fast. No way, the horse could sustain that run. It was just a different race. He only got beat four lengths and he was trying to the end.
Prior to shipping to Kentucky, the 4-year-old gelding was a front-running winner in his four Tapeta victories, winning by a combined 13 lengths.
“He took to that surface, although he likes grass also,” Orseno said. “He sure likes it here.”
Edgar Perez, who has been aboard for his four Tapeta wins and his loss on turf at Kentucky Downs, has the return mount on Lamplighter Jack.
Sonata Stable’s Calibrator, trainer Dan Hurtak’s Mamba Laker, Victory Racing Partner’s Kahiko, and Ivette Perez Chambless’ Journeyman round out the field.
Maximo Back Doing What He Does Best in Armed Forces
Maximo will be doing what he does best Saturday when Arindel’s homebred colt stretches out in distance over Gulfstream Park’s Tapeta course in the $65,000 Armed Forces.
An eye-catching maiden winner on Tapeta in his first start around two turns July 15, Maximo will look to return to winning form in Saturday’s mile-and-70-yard stakes for 2-year-olds on the all-weather surface.
The son of Brethren is coming off a seventh-place finish on dirt in the $200,000 Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed at Gulfstream Sept. 3.
“We were going to go up to Saratoga for the With Anticipation,” Arindel’s Brian Cohen said, “but he worked so well for that race (FSS Affirmed), we said, ‘You know what? We don’t need to ship up a nice 2-year-old.’ He’s a little difficult to deal with, so we decided to try the sire stake, and if he ran well, we’d go in the last leg. If not, this race was here.
“He didn’t handle the dirt, but he came out of the race well, and he’s training well,” he added. “We’re looking forward to putting him back on the Tapeta, because it seems what he wants to do.”
Maximo debuted on dirt June 3, finishing fifth after a bad start from the rail post position and being forced to races extremely wide. The Juan Alvarado-trained colt again drew the rail for his second start and his June 25 Tapeta debut, in which he closed well to finish third at 5 ½ furlongs.
“That first Tapeta race, he broke from the rail and they had to back everyone out of the gate. He came out, then they went back in. He didn’t get out of the gate right and then he made a good move,” Cohen said. “We knew he wanted to go longer. After the race, he kind of ran off with groom. He definitely wants to go all day.”
Maximo appreciated the stretch-out to a mile and 70 yards in his second Tapeta start, leading from the start and lengthening his margin of victory to 10 ½ lengths. Although Maximo was so dominant in his graduation on Tapeta, Cohen understands that the competition will be tougher in the Armed Forces. The long-striding colt is rated at 8-1 in the morning line.
“The two-turn race was the first two-turn race for 2-year-olds. He might have just been the most ready in the field. There are a couple of nice horses coming into this one,” Cohen said. “He’s ready. We’re just looking forward to seeing him do it again.”
Edgard Zayas is scheduled to ride Maximo for the first time in the Armed Forces.
Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse will be represented by John Oxley’s Lights of Broadway and M Racing Group LLC’s Eyes On the King.
Lights of Broadway, a son of City of Light who was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the field of eight juveniles, is coming off a 3 ¼-length victory in a mile-and-70-yard maiden race on Tapeta in her second lifetime start. Eyes On the King, a son of Street Sense who is rated second at 7-2, won his six-furlong debut by four lengths on the main track.
Sonny Leon is named on Lights of Broadway, while Emisael Jaramillo has the call of Eyes On the King.
Trainer Roger Laurin’s Tigre, who defeated Lights of Broadway by 5 ½ lengths while making his third career start Aug. 13, is rated third in the morning line at 9-2. Apprentice Jason Huayas has the return mount.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.’s Wine Empire, Palm Beach Racing Parnership’s Dangerous Ride, and Spencer McDonald’s Cheerful Charlie round out the field.