Abreu Readying Turf Stakes Contenders for Keeneland and the Big A

March 19, 2023

Howe Street draws away to an impressive win March 5 (Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Jorge Abreu is enjoying a solid start to his 2023 campaign with a record of 34-10-3-4, including an impressive score by John Gunther’s Kentucky homebred Howe Street in an 11-furlong optional-claimer on March 5 at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old Honor Code colt closed to finish second in his April debut here before a successful return off the layoff in January traveling one-mile under Jose Ortiz at Gulfstream.

Abreu said Howe Street will make his stakes debut in the 12-furlong Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 22 at Keeneland.

“I think he’s a really nice horse. He ran really well,” Abreu said. “He always looked like a horse that wanted to go farther, but the first time we ran him a mile and he had a tough trip and got beat right on the wire. In his first race back, the only race for him was at a mile and Jose told me after that this horse really wants to go long, he was just starting to get warmed up.”

A number of Abreu runners breezed over the Belmont Park dirt training track this weekend, including Lawrence Goichman’s multiple graded-stakes placed New York homebred Runaway Rumour.

The 4-year-old Flintshire mare breezed twice this month at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida before heading north and covering a half-mile in 49.04 Saturday at Belmont.

Runaway Rumour, who was last seen posting a head score over fellow state-breds in the Ticonderoga here, will target the $100,000 Plenty of Grace on April 16 at the Big A spring meet.

“I gave her a little break for the winter. She’s had three breezes and I’m going to point her to the Plenty of Grace,” Abreu said.

NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded-stakes placed New York-bred Venti Valentine breezed a half-mile in 49.65 Sunday at Belmont in her second work back since winning the one-mile Bay Ridge in December here.

Abreu said Venti Valentine benefitted from some time off at Brandon Rice’s RiceHorse Stables Thoroughbred Training Center in Florida.

“We sent her to Brandon Rice for 60 days and she just came back. She put on a little weight and grew. Hopefully, she has a good year,” Abreu said. “She came back and had her second half-mile, so she’s a little ways from running, but she’s doing really well.”

A long-term target for Venti Valentine, bred by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, is the $200,000 Critical Eye Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile test for state-bred fillies and mares on May 29 at Belmont Park.

Lawrence Goichman’s multiple graded-stakes placed Irish-bred Star Devine, a 5-year-old Fastnet Rock mare, worked five-eighths in 1:01.90 Saturday in preparation for the Giant’s Causeway, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint on April 15 at Keeneland.

“She had a good breeze. She’s doing really well right now,” said Abreu.

Star Devine posted a record of 6-1-2-1 last year, completing the campaign with a 1 1/4-length score in the six-furlong Autumn Days here in November. She entered the Autumn Days from a close third in the Grade 3 Franklin at Keeneland won by Caravel, who exited that effort to win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Awesome Native romps to an allowance score Jan. 14 (NYRA/Coglianese)

Farone Stables’ New York-homebred Awesome Native, a 4-year-old Practical Joke colt, won his first two starts here against fellow state-breds, graduating in December ahead of a 6 1/4-length allowance score in a seven-furlong sprint on January 14 over a good main track.

Last out, on February 19 in a one-mile state-bred optional-claimer, he contested the pace from the inside post before fading to fifth in a race won by the stakes-placed Overstep with Ouster, who garnered a 100 Beyer here in an optional-claiming win Saturday, finishing second.

“I think being on the inside, stretching out and being close to the pace got him beat. He got tired at the eighth pole,” Abreu said.

Awesome Native breezed back a half-mile in 49.25 on March 10 and put in a sharp half-mile in 48.11 this morning.

“Last week, he worked just OK and got a little tired in the gallop out. But today he breezed really well. He went out in 1:01 with a strong gallop out,” Abreu said.

While Awesome Native is likely to target an allowance event, another option could be the $100,000 Affirmed Success, a six-furlong state-bred sprint on April 30 here.

“I’ll work him next week again and if he worked like he did today, I’ll probably point him for that,” Abreu said. “If not, I’ll keep him in an allowance race. He’s a young horse and he’s lightly raced.”

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