All racing eyes were on Gulfstream Park last Saturday, thanks to a wonderful card of no less than 8 stakes races (six with Graded status) that culminated in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Was this the race that would show us any cracks in Kentucky Derby favourite Mohaymen’s armour? It was said he had not trained as well and was up against some very useful animals, including the unbeaten Zulu.
Well those that availed themselves of the cramped 2/5 odds on offer never had a moments worry. Awesome Banner took them along at a fast pace but was gone at half way, allowing Zulu to take it up. Mohaymen had the move covered and took over in the stretch, winning comfortably by 2 ¼ lengths with another 4 lengths back to the third. Everything looks on track for Mohaymen to contest the Grade 1 Florida Derby on 2nd April, which will be his final run before the “Run for the Roses” on 7th May.
In a spectacular undercard, Cathryn Sophia continued her climb towards the top of the 3 year old distaff tree with a comprehensive 7 length win in the 32nd running of the Davona Dale. Settled just behind a slow pace she moved up coming into the stretch and put the race to bed in a matter of strides. This daughter of Street Boss is now unbeaten in her four starts and her trainer is looking at the Gulfstream Park Oaks on 2nd April and then the Kentucky Oaks on 7th May, what you might call the fillies’ version of the route Mohaymen is taking.
The sprint lovers were well catered for at Gulfstream with a chance to see if XY Jet could extend his winning run to 5 over the six and a half furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint. The big question that XY Jet had to answer was whether the extra ½ furlong of this race be a trip too far for this speedball. In truth the answer was maybe! He made a slight bobble at the start but was soon in front setting very fast fractions of 21.84 seconds for the quarter and 43.92 for the half but was treading water at the end and had to be brave to hold off Candip by 1 ¼ lengths.
All roads now lead to Dubai for the Group 1 (equivalent to Grade 1 in the US) Golden Shaheen at the World Cup meeting at the end of March. This race is over 6 furlongs on dirt so should play to XY Jet’s undoubted strengths. Exciting times ahead!
In the Turf sprint, The Texas Glitter Stakes, we witnessed a dominant performance from Manhattan Dan who led from start to wire to win by 5 ¼ lengths in a shade under 55 seconds on a firm turf surface. Another taking performance was provided by Catch A Glimpse in the Herecomesthebride Stakes. In her first run since winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she showed she had trained on with a devastating turn of foot at the top of the stretch to win by 2 ½ lengths. This daughter of City Zip is unbeaten in all her turf starts and her next race may well be the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay.
Away from Gulfstream, there was a Kentucky Oaks trial at Aqueduct in the Busher Stakes over a mile and a sixteenth. The race was won by 4/1 shot Mo d’Amour. She had a ground saving rail trip under Christopher DeCarlo and was briefly outpaced in the far turn before coming out wide and finishing strongly to win by 2 lengths. In reality, Mo d’Amour will be a big price if the goes to the Oaks but her owner has some “previous” in that race, having won the 2013 renewal with 38/1 longshot, Princess of Sylmar.