G3 Winner Weyburn Ending Layoff in Seven-Furlong Sprint
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – While Collaborate will try to bounce back from a recent disappointing performance, Weyburn is taking the first step on a comeback from a layoff Saturday in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The seven-furlong Sir Shackleton for older horses is one of the 10 stakes on Gulfstream Park’s blockbuster Curlin Florida Derby (G1) program. The 10th running of the Sir Shackleton drew a field of nine older sprinters.
Championship Meet-leading trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. won the Sir Shackleton in 2021 with Sweet Bye and Bye and will saddle a pair of runners this year: Collaborate, who drew the outside post, and Girolamo’s Attack, who will start from Post 5. In his most recent start, Collaborate, a son of top sire Into Mischief, finished seventh of eight, beaten 14 ¼ lengths, in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) March 5.
Joseph said he expected more from the 4-year-old colt co-owned by his breeder Three Chimneys Farm and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds. After Collaborate ran poorly in a pair of route stakes last year, the Florida Derby and the Curlin at Saratoga, Joseph changed course and prepped him for sprint to middle-distances races. He prevailed in a 6 ½-furlong optional claimer Jan. 7 but was unable to deliver again in the Gulfstream Park Mile.
“I thought he was going to be a one-turn horse and last time he let me down,” Joseph said. “He has a lot of talent, but he’s broken my heart. He’s broken my heart two or three times now.”
Collaborate was beaten a total of 32½ lengths in this two-turn tries, so Joseph returned to what looked to be the colt’s strength.
“Last time, he went one turn – he was unbeaten around one turn – and he didn’t show up. He didn’t run as well as I thought he would,” Joseph said. “We’re going to run him again at seven-eighths for this race and hopefully he’ll show up. When he shows up, he’s as capable as any horse in there.
“I know he’s a serious horse. I don’t know if when he runs at a higher level, it doesn’t help,” he added. “The way he ran last time was puzzling. It was a top race, and he didn’t show up. We’re coming back at them at seven-eighths. It’s an easier spot. There’s no Speaker’s Corner or Fearless in there. Hopefully, we’ll see the Collaborate that we think he’s capable of being.”
Joseph will also saddle Girolamo’s Attack, a 5-year-old gelding owned by John Fanelli, LC Racing, Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch. Last out, he was fourth in the one-mile Fred Hooper (G3) on the Jan. 29 Pegasus World Cup (G1) program.
“He’s a hard-trying horse,” Joseph said. “The race isn’t coming up as a big field. He’s at home; he’s doing well. We’ll give him a chance.”
At this time last year, Weyburn was approaching the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct as a horse to be considered following a maiden score and a nose victory in the Gotham (G3) at odds of 46-1. He attended the early pace in the Wood and finished fourth. Two months later, the Chiefswood Stable homebred trained by Jimmy Jerkens lost by a neck to eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mandaloun in the Pegasus at Monmouth Park. He was last of eight in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) Sept. 25.
Jerkens stayed in New York this winter and Chiefswood sent Weyburn to trainer Brendan Walsh in Florida to prepare for his 2022 campaign. The Pioneerof the Nile colt – a half-brother to Yorkton, the 2020 Sir Shackleton runner-up – was freshened a bit after arriving at Walsh’s barn at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. He has been breezing weekly for a few months.
The Sir Shackleton will be Weyburn’s first one-turn race in more than a year.
“It will be interesting to see how this horse goes seven-eighths here,” Walsh said. “He shows plenty of speed at home, so I don’t think it will be a problem for him whatsoever.”
Tyler Gaffalione takes over in the irons on the Ontario-bred, who turned in a half-mile work in 47.75 seconds March 25.
“He’s been doing great. He’s been working really good,” Walsh said. “We’ll see how he goes on Saturday, but I couldn’t be really happier on his work. It seems like he is fit and ready to go.”
OXO Equine’s lightly raced Fortin Hill drew the rail in the second start of his comeback. The 6-year-old Mucho Macho Man horse has three wins and two seconds in six career starts. He missed all of 2021 and was second in a six-furlong optional claimer March 4 for new trainer Bill Mott.
Bell Racing’s Quick Tempo held off Fortin Hill in his first start for his new connections to break a six-race losing streak. He will start from Post 2 with Championship Meet-leading Luis Saez.
Jacks or Better Farm’s 5-year-old homebred Shivaree was second to Tiz the Law in the 2020 Florida Derby. The Florida-bred chestnut, who will start from Post 6, was most recently sixth in the Fred Hooper.
Rough Entry, in Post 7, and Where Paradise Lay, Post 8, both come out of the March 4 optional claimer won by Quick Tempo. Dennis Smith, Daniel Walters and Ramon Murphy’s Rough Entry, was fourth in the prep and is seeking his first stakes win. Where Paradise Lay, a son of Into Mischief owned by John Grossi’s Racing Corp., was third beaten 1 ½ lengths by Quick Tempo.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Lauren King