HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable and Windmill Manor Farm’s Lucci, impressive winner of his mid-January comeback off a seven-month layoff, steps back into stakes company for his return in Saturday’s $75,000 Texas Glitter at Gulfstream Park.
The eighth running of the Texas Glitter for 3-year-olds and seventh renewal of the $75,000 Melody of Colors for 3-year-old fillies, both sprinting five furlongs on the grass, co-headline an 11-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m.
Lucci led from start to finish to register a popular 2 ½-length optional claiming allowance victory Jan. 19, also going five-eighths over the Gulfstream turf. The Not This Time colt had not raced since finishing fifth, beaten a length, in the Norfolk (G2) last June at Royal Ascot.
“I was real happy with it. He ran great. We’ve been waiting for this race for a while now,” trainer Wesley Ward said. “He was always a very fast horse, so to see him come back like that was great, and he wasn’t quite 100 percent ready. I’d say he was 85 or 90 percent, so having that race should have him right on target.”
Lucci was a three-length winner of his unveiling last May at Belmont Park and Ward brought him to England, where he owns 11 stakes wins at Royal Ascot over the years. Lucci was in position to win under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez but got caught late in the 15-horse Norfolk, a race Ward won in 2013 with No Nay Never and 2018 with Shang Shang Shang.
“It’s never easy to go over there. He’s a very talented horse, and he ran a good race. We were a winner until five jumps before the line and then they kind of swarmed us. Johnny put him in position to win and he just faltered the last few jumps,” Ward said. “He came back, and he ran well to win his comeback race, so we’re ready to go.”
Lucci is named for Mike Lucci, an All-Pro middle linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions over 12 NFL seasons and was also known for his off-field generosity. Longtime friends with principal owner Andrew Farm’s Richard Brodie, he passed away last October at age 81.
“Mr. Lucci was a great humanitarian,” Ward said. “He was Dick Brodie’s best buddy. We have Mr. Lucci in several win pictures the last 10 years of training for Dick, and to have a horse named for him after he passed win and now running in stakes races, it’s great.”
Augustin Stable homebred High Front will be making his stakes debut off a 6 ½-length debut triumph in a five-furlong maiden special weight on the Gulfstream turf Jan. 28. The Summer Front gelding took command early and was never threatened to win in 56.16 seconds.
“The horse had touted himself going into the race. We expected him to run well, but that didn’t mean win or win like he did. So we were really surprised and happy with what we saw from him,” trainer Jonathan Thomas said. “He’s since trained well, and he’s had a couple of really nice works. I don’t want to throw him into the deep end of the pond, but there’s not a lot of options for him right now. I want to go ahead and get him back in the gate.”
High Front went unraced at 2 as the connections patiently waited for him to develop. His unveiling has them anticipating big things moving forward.
“He just was a horse that needed to mature and needed some time and he certainly benefitted from it. We waited until he was ready,” Thomas said. “It’s the sort of debut where there might be better things to come from him, and he’s certainly trained that way. But having said that, it’s [his] second time out and it’s going to be another learning curve for both him and I.”
Barone Cesco, beaten a neck when third in the five-furlong Hollywood Beach last fall at Gulfstream; Big Invasion, a 4 ½-length maiden special weight winner Feb. 19 at Gulfstream; Bueno Bueno, third by 1 ½ lengths in the one-mile Palm Beach March 5; Trikitraki, a winner over Gulfstream’s dirt and Tapeta surfaces yet to race on turf; and Brit’s Candyman complete the field.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo of Lucci by Ryan Thompson