Nicholas Palmer Saddles First Winner
White Abarrio Breezes for G1 Pegasus World Cup
Baby Billy Has 2 Goads in Sunday’s Mucho Macho Man
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Nicholas Palmer celebrated the first victory of his training career Friday at Gulfstream Park after saddling Bad Henry for a 5 ¼ length romp in Race 2.
The 30-year-old Jupiter, FL native achieved his career milestone with a horse bred and owned by his parents, Teresa and David Palmer, long-time prominent owners in South Florida.
“It feels amazing. It’s really special. I’m happy it was with a homebred,” Palmer said.
Bad Henry ($29.40), a 2-year-old son of Good Samaritan, won for the first time in four career starts in the mile maiden claiming race as the longest price in the six-horse field.
Although he grew up in Thoroughbred racing, Palmer didn’t always have a goal to become a trainer.
“It’s not really what I always wanted to do. I had another job in film, doing lighting. I took a hiatus and went to the farm and saw a 2-year-olds-in-training sale and it piqued my interest more than racing did when I was a kid,” said Palmer, who lived and worked on an Ocala farm for eight years. “I just loved it and never left the farm. I didn’t go back to my job.”
Palmer left the farm to work for some a few prominent trainers before taking out his license earlier this year.
“I worked as a foreman for Danny Gargan three years ago just for the Saratoga meet. Following that I was working for Saffie Joseph as a foreman and then an assistant at Palm Meadows,” Palmer said. “I also worked for Armando De La Cerda for a while, as well.”
White Abarrio Breezes for G1 Pegasus World Cup
C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio tuned up for a planned start in Jan. 28 $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Friday morning at Gulfstream Park, breezing a half-mile in 48.31 seconds.
The workout was the second for this year’s $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) winner since his solid third-place finish in the Dec. 3 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. Exercise rider Vicente Gudiel was aboard.
“He worked very well this morning and he put a lot of energy in his gallop-out,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said.
White Abarrio, who also won the Holy Bull (G3) at Belmont prior to his Florida Derby score and a troubled 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The son of Race Day has pleased his trainer with his physical presence.
“He’s filled out a little bit. He looks really well right now. We’re really happy with the way he is right now from a weight standpoint,” Joseph said. “With a month to go, we’re in good order. I think if everything goes smoothly, we’re in good shape.”
The Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), as well as the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G3), will be renewed Jan. 28 at Gulfstream.
“The confidence level in him is very high right now. It feeds off off the horse and the energy he gives us back. Everything we’re observing is positive,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “The confidence level is at a high point because that’s what he’s showing us.”
Baby Billy Has 2 Goals in Sunday’s Mucho Macho Man
Trainer Jack Sisterson has set two goals for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco and William Branch’s Baby Billy in Sunday’s $150,000 Mucho Macho Man: to win his first stakes in the mile prep on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) and graduate in the process.
Baby Billy, who is winless in three starts while showing considerable promise, is scheduled to meet 11 more accomplished rivals in the Mucho Macho Man, a stakes for newly turned 3-year-old named for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner owned by Dean and Patti Reeves.
The gelded son of Gormley, who lost his first two races at Churchill Downs by a head, was claimed out of his second start by Sisterson for his current owners for $50,000.
“I talked to Dean Reeves and they intended to run him in the Mucho Macho Man when they bought him. We obviously thought he would have broken his maiden in his last start. I think if he would have broke or if the race were a mile, he would have won the race,” Sisterson said. “We look at that race as a positive the way he finished up. He trains like a horse and typically looks like a horse that any added distance would be beneficial, and he’s getting that Sunday.”
In his first start for his new connections, a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weigh race at Gulfstream Dec. 3, Baby Billy broke slowly from his rail post position and recovered to finish a late-closing third.
“He just broke a step slow and got shuffled back. When that happens when you draw the inside, you’re under pressure from the get-go. It was promising to see him finish up,” Sisterson said. “He’s a horse with a big stride and physically is a big horse that looks like he’ll benefit from the mile.”
Joel Rosario will ride Baby Billy for the first time Sunday.
“He’s run some good races and has just been unlucky not to win one,” Dean Reeves said. “We’re hoping he can put it together because we’d love to win the Mucho Macho Man. That would be pretty cool.”