NOT IN THE SAME LEAGUE
Spec. Bid winner Notonthesamepage runs 115 BEYER SPEED FIGURE!
and RACING WAS DELIGHTFUL at Gulfstream
Watching and wagering on opening day of Gulfstream Park's 70th winter meeting was just what cabin-fever folks in the north needed, one month after Woodbine ended its season and the snow starts to pile high.
Big fields and interesting betting races with horses from everywhere and the track did not have a huge bias - although the outside was certainly a bit more favourable than the rail.
Canadian horses did not have much luck - Jim and Susan Hill's BRAVE INDY (Cherokee Run), a firster, broke a bit awkwardly in his debut outing in race 6 and was outrun behind a fancy front running winner by the name of CHECKLIST, also a firster (by Gone West) led all the way in his debut for Starlight Partners and trainer Todd Pletcher. He was a $400K yearling buy.
In the finale, Bear Stables' BEAR ALWAYS got locked in a tough pace duel in a one-mile maiden allowance, apeared to be a bit headstrong and he finally faded on the rail and was unplaced. The winner of that event was COPPER CASCADE, making his 3rd start for Mark Hennig and the colt is by Grand Slam.
But the story of the day was the sizzling win in the 6 furlong SPECTACULAR BID Stakes by Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred NOTONTHESAMEPAGE, obviously a sprinter but a very good 3yo sprinter.
He posted a 115 Beyer Figure in the win yesterday, just missing the track record of 1:08.46 by 2/100 (1:08.48).
The colt had not done well in stakes events late last year but is obviously good when he's fresh and he's fast - very fast.
DELIGHTFUL KISS came from last place some 18 lengths back, to win the Hal's Hope over 13 rivals and that race went well for closers.
The big grey guy stormed down the middle of the track to win easily and he earned a 102 Beyer Figure.
One Gulfstream horse to watch popped up yesterday - at least one anyway. MS. TRISS had a dreadful run up the rail in a turf event - first she had tons of room and lots of power, and then the hole closed and she checked hard. TAB FOR NEXT TIME!
HAYNESFIELD starts Derby chatter
The SPEIGHTSTOWN 3yo colt HAYNESFIELD won the COUNT FLEET STAKES at Aqueduct yesterday but not many were impressed as the colt had to work hard to win by 3 1/2 lengths at less than even-money.
He earned an 88 Beyer Figure.
Interestingly, the colt has a Woodbine connection - his dam NOTHING SPECIAL is by Ontario's TEJABO and she raced at Woodbine in stakes company. She is out of Moody Maiden, a daughter of top broodmare Cool Mood.
GULFSTREAM OPENING DAY REVIEWS
(photo - DELIGHTFUL KISS, at Churchill late last year, by Vaness Ng)
GULFSTREAM PARK | OPENING DAY
excerpt - Miami Herald
BY JIM FREER
Miami Herald Writer
Delightful Kiss provided thrills for Gulfstream Park's largest crowd in five years, rallying from last place in a field of 14 on Saturday to win the opening day Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap.
Delightful Kiss ''ended up almost out in the parking lot when he made his run'' on the far turn, his trainer, Pete Anderson, said.
But after his wide run on the turn, the 5-year-old gelding caught the early leaders and won the one-mile Hal's Hope by three lengths over Bullsbay.
The $100,000 Hal's Hope, for 4-year-olds and up, was one of two stakes races on the first day of Gulfstream's 66th season.
Notonthesamepage led from gate to wire to win the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Notonthesamepage, ridden by Elvis Trujillo, ran the distance in 1:08.48 -- just missing the track record of 1:08.46. He is trained by Wesley Ward.
Based on concession figures and wagering, Gulfstream estimated an attendance of more than 15,000.
That is Gulfstream's largest crowd since 2004, the year before it began building the clubhouse/casino that opened in 2006.
Gulfstream does not charge admission to its racetrack or casino and does not announce an official attendance.
Total wagering on Gulfstream's races, live and from other tracks and the Internet, was $10.4 million for nine races. That was almost 8 percent higher than wagering of $9.7 million on 10 races on Gulfstream's first Saturday in 2008.
''People are here because they obviously like our racing,'' Gulfstream president Bill Murphy said.
Excerpt - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Crowds, bets up on opening day at Gulfstream Park
By Tim Dwyer | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
January 4, 2009
HALLANDALE BEACH - Under picture-perfect skies, Gulfstream Park kicked off its winter meet Saturday in front of the largest opening-day crowd since the track underwent major renovations in late 2004.
Gulfstream officials placed the crowd at more than 15,000. The figure is an estimate as Gulfstream does not charge admission. On-track handle figures indicate a wagering jump of more than $110,000 from last year.
The large crowd meant long lines at the concession and wagering windows, and the track's 5,000-plus parking spaces were claimed early in the day. Complaints, however, were at a minimum.
Theresa Backus, who lives in Dubai, was in South Florida visiting her sister and was making her first visit to Gulfstream.
"They seem to be doing a great job of getting people through," Backus said. "It doesn't feel too crowded and you can have your own space."
Backus, 43, and her party were enjoying the day in the Jameson Jockey Club, the newly renovated area on the north end of the track where a majority of patrons congregated.
Joe Hagerty, a retiree from Lexington, Mass., who winters in Fort Lauderdale Is your Fort Lauderdale restaurant clean? - Click Here., also gave the renovated area high marks. Hagerty, 71, has been coming to Gulfstream for 30 years and said his only complaint was there was no parking shuttle running when he arrived.
"I think this keeps getting better every year," Hagerty said, "as long as they keep the horseplayers No. 1."
Not every trackside veteran shared Hagerty's opinion. Eddie Amore, a Coconut Creek retiree originally from the Bronx, was attending his ninth consecutive opening day. Amore, 55, said he is not a fan of the ongoing development around the track — specifically the adjoining Village at Gulfstream Park.
"I liked the old track better," Amore said. "It had more character. This is like every casino ever built."
NICANOR NEARING NOTABLILITY?
from Gulfstream Park media
Lael Stable’s Nicanor, the full-brother of 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Florida Derby (G1) winner Barbaro, continues to progress toward his highly anticipated career debut at the end of January or early in February.
Trainer Michael Matz reported the 3-year-old homebred son of Dynaformer worked from the starting gate at Palm Meadows Training Center last Sunday, going three furlongs in :36.50 over the fast dirt track.
(photo of NICANOR, from www.alexbrownracing.com, see Nicanor's own web page below)
“He hadn’t broken from the gate in a while,” said Matz. “He is quite good at the gate and he’s doing fine. If everything continues to go well he should be starting at the end of the month.”
The workout was the second recorded drill out of a starting gate, breezing three furlongs from the barrier at Fair Hill Training Center last June. After a break from July to November, Matz has ramped up Nicanor’s training in South Florida with five works since Nov. 16.
Barbaro was already 3-for-3 at this point in his career, halfway to his six straight wins until breaking his ankle in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The resulting attempts to save the colt’s life captivated the world. Barbaro eventually succumbed to laminitis eight months later.
Until Nicanor starts his own career, the comparisons between the two sons of broodmare La Ville Rouge will be constant. Matz, however, remains restrained.
“They both have individual characteristics at this point,” he said. “They are two different types of horses. Nicanor does look like he could do well on any surface we want to run on. That’s similar. He’s looking like a competitive horse, but he obviously has some big shoes to fill. We will just keep taking it in stride.”