HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Unbeaten in a pair of starts and already well-tested, Annex will try to add another stakes victory to his resume in the $100,000 Cutler Bay Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 6th running of the Cutler Bay, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, is part of an exciting program that includes 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.85 million topped by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.
Post time for the first of 14 races is 11:30 a.m.
Annex is a chestnut son of the emerging young stallion Constitution, winner of the 2014 Florida Derby and the 2015 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for LNJ Foxwoods and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Annex followed the win in his career debut at a mile on Jan. 16 with an impressive victory in the 1 1/16 miles Palm Beach Stakes on Feb. 27.
Although Constitution made seven of his eight career starts on dirt, Mott and his team realized that Annex showed more promise on grass.
“Interestingly enough, in his dirt works he wouldn’t finish up as well as what he did on the turf,” Mott said. “We did have an opportunity to work him on the grass and he looked like it really carried his speed and he really finished very well. You never really know until you take them over there in the afternoon.”
What Mott saw in morning training Annex delivered in competition: an ability to come from off the pace in a hurry.
“In his first race, he finished his final quarter in like 22 and 4 or something,” Mott said. “He came home very well after being back and having a little bit of traffic and had to wait. He found his room and came on very professional.”
The Palm Beach pace scenario was perfect for Annex. Under Junior Alvarado he sat 22 lengths off brutally fast early fractions of 22.38 and 44:80 and closed seven-wide to win by a head.
Annex has worked twice at Payson Park since the Palm Beach and Mott is giving him his third start during the Championship Meet.
“He’s a very high-energy horse,” Mott said. “Normally you’d have to consider that he’s already run twice down there and maybe we don’t need to run him back right away but he is a very high-energy horse and probably a horse that you’d rather go ahead and give him the opportunity to run rather than just having him hang around the barn.”
Annex and Alvarado will start from post six in the field of nine in the Cutler Bay.
Lucky Law and King of Dreams, both maiden winners on the turf at Gulfstream Park in January, return to grass racing after off-the-board finishes in graded stakes on dirt. Co-owner Patrick Biancone trains the Irish-bred Lucky Law, a son of No Nay Never, for his partners Sanford Bacon, Mrs. Paul Shanahan and Horse France America. Lucky Law was sixth in the Sam F. Davis (G3) on Feb. 6. King of Dreams, owned by Victor Martinez’ Victoria’s Ranch, broke his maiden at 16-1 in his turf debut on Jan. 30, then finished fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 6.
The 2020 Cutler Bay was a steppingstone for winner Decorated Invader, who went on to win the Pennine Ridge (G2) and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) for trainer Christophe Clement.
Trainer Bill Mott will saddle World Tour in the Sanibel Island. (Lauren King)
Mott will saddle World Tour, a contender in the $100,000 Sanibel Island, the companion race to the Cutler Bay, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf.
World Tour is from the first crop sired by Tourist, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner trained by Mott. In her lone start, World Tour won a one-mile grass race by one length on Feb. 18 under Junior Alvarado.
“She was very professional and ran very well,” Mott said. “This will only be her second race, hopping into stakes company. Same thing we did with Annex. It’s a little bit of a reach, a little bit of a stretch to jump from a maiden race to a stakes race but we thought maybe she looks like she would fit in with some of the other horses. We hope that she’ll be competitive and come back and run a similar race. If she does and she improves a little bit it puts her right there.”
World Tour and Alvarado will start from post four in the field of eight entered in the seventh running of the Sanibel Island. Mott won the race in 2016 with Harmonize.
Ashbrook Farm’s Joy of Painting, who was moved up to second at odds of 68-1 by a disqualification in the Herecomesthebride (G3) on Feb. 27, will start from post three with Joe Bravo. The daughter of Munnings trained by Rusty Arnold finished off the board in three dirt starts in 2020 but won on her first try going two turns on turf in January. She was on or near the lead in the Herecomesthebride but was outfinished in the 1 1/16 miles stake.
Gary Barber’s four-time winner I Get It was moved up to third by the DQ after a troubled trip in the Herecomesthebride. The Maryland-bred daughter of Get Stormy trained by Ronald Spatz is the most experienced filly in the field and has made all eight of her starts on the turf in South Florida.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Annex wins the Palm Beach, (Coglianese) and World Tour, (Lauren King)