HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Leinster looms as a solid favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) on the strength of a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.
The Rusty Arnold-trained 6-year-old son of Majestic Warrior is set to make his 2021 debut in the five-furlong turf sprint for 4-year-olds and up that will co-headline Saturday’s 12-race program with the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3). Saturday’s program will also feature a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 jackpot pool and the return of undefeated 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Structor in an optional claiming allowance on turf.
Leinster, who is owned by Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables LLC and Jean Wilkinson, finished a length behind victorious Glass Slippers and a half-length behind runner-up Wet Your Whistle in the 5 ½-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in his 2020 finale.
“He’s doing really well. We sent him to Ocala for about a month. He was on the farm and I picked him up when I got to Florida in early December. He’s been here two months and all systems are ‘go,’” said Arnold, whose stable is based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
Leinster raced evenly over a ‘good’ course in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, encountering a slight bumping incident in the stretch.
“He ran his race. I think the turf got a touch softer than what is his favorite, but he got in a great spot and made a run for the lead. He got bumped around a little, but when you’re in these full fields, that’s the way it goes,” Arnold said. “I was very proud of him. He fought right on to the wire. He got beat by what? A length? I was very proud of him. I think the soft turf hurt him more than the bumping around.”
Leinster was victorious in his two starts prior to the Breeders’ Cup over a firm Keeneland turf course in the Shakertown (G2) and the Woodford Stakes (G2).
“I think [the Gulfstream course] should suit him well,” Arnold said. “He’s got two track records and they were both in [midsummer], one at Keeneland and one at Saratoga. They were both on hard ground, and that’s the way he likes it.”
Leinster ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:00.86 to win the July 11 Shakertown in track-record time. He also set a record while winning the 5 ½-furlong Troy (G3) in 1:00.23 at Saratoga Aug. 3, 2019.
Arnold also entered Pat Madden LLC’s Borracho, a 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo who is Grade 1 stakes-placed on dirt and who pressed the pace before fading in his Jan. 23 turf debut in a mile optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream.
Luis Saez has the return mount aboard Leinster, while Joe Bravo has the call aboard Borracho.
Silverton Hill LLC’s High Crime is scheduled to make his first start at Gulfstream since finishing fourth in the Swale (G3) on dirt two years ago. The Darrin Miller-trained 5-year-old son of Violence has gone on to prove himself as a solid competitor on turf. In his most recent start of turf, he pressed the pace on his way to a half-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance at Keeneland.
Julien Leparoux has the call on High Crime.
Sam Wilensky and Harry Orgo’s Harry’s Ontheloose enters the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint off a fourth-place finish behind multiple graded-stakes winner Imprimis in the Janus stakes last time out. The 5-year-old son of Uncaptured previously finished third in the Claiming Crown Canterbury and won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park West, both at five furlongs on turf.
Junior Alvarado has the call aboard the Herman Wilensky-trained Florida-bred.
G. Watts Humphrey and Brendan O’Brien’s Smart Remark, Nimet Arif Kurtel’s Shared Legacy, and Santa Rosa Racing Stables’ Inter Miami round out the field.
Photo: Leinster winning the Troy at Saratoga. (Elsa Lorieul)