Never Surprised One to Beat in Tropical Park Derby

December 23, 2021

Pletcher Trainee Tops Full Field of 3-Year-Olds

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Multiple graded stakes-placed Never Surprised will shock absolutely no one if the Todd Pletcher trainee is victorious in Sunday’s $100,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park.

The Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, will co-headline Sunday’s day-after-Christmas program with the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks, a mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Mike Repole’s Never Surprised enters Sunday’s co-feature off a dominating 6 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Gio Ponti over the turf at Aqueduct Nov. 26. In his three prior starts, the son of Constitution was graded stakes-placed, finishing second in the Kitten’s Joy (G3) at Gulfstream before settling for runner-up honors behind Public Sector in the Saranac (G3) at Saratoga and Hill Prince (G2) at Belmont.

“I was very pleased with his last race and he’s trained enthusiastically for this race,” Pletcher said.

Luis Saez has the call aboard Never Surprised, who tops a full field of 12 3-year-olds (plus three also-eligible entries).

WellSpring Stables’ Safe Conduct, who finished second in the Gio Ponti, is scheduled to take on Never Surprised again in the Tropical Park Derby. The Phil Serpe-trained son of Bodemeister captured the $1 million Queen’s Plate over Woodbine’s Tapeta surface three starts back before finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Stakes, the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown run over a yielding turf at Woodbine,and rebounding with a solid Gio Ponti effort.

Paco Lopez is slated to ride Safe Conduct for the first time Sunday.

Stuart Janney III’s Scarlett Sky brings graded-stakes credentials into the Tropical Park Derby, having captured the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland in the spring. The son of Sky Mesa, who lost the Palm Beach by a head last season at Gulfstream, finished off the board in a Keeneland stakes over a soft turf last time while coming off a five-month layoff.

Trainer Shug McGaughey has awarded the mount to fellow Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.

Edge Racing’s Yes This Time is also a Grade 3 stakes winner in Sunday’s field. The Kelly Breen-trained son of Not This Time captured the Kent (G3) at Delaware Park last July, capping a five-race winning streak, including four straight wins at Gulfstream.

Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Yes This time, who is coming off in-the-money finishes in Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and Bryan Station at Keeneland.

Victoria’s Ranch’s King of Dreams and Lea Farms LLC’s Fighting Force will enter the Tropical Park Derby, off a 1-2 finish, respectively, in the Showing Up over Gulfstream’s Tapeta course.

ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, Peter Donnelly and William Oberdorff’s Mohs and Calumet Farm’s Grey Streak, who finished 1-2, respectively, in the Hawthorne Derby, will clash again Sunday. Calumet will also be represented by Jack Sisterson-trained In Effect in Sunday’s field.

Gelfenstein Farm LLC’s Siglioso and Melvin Simonovich’s Lamplighter Jack and Palm Beach Racing Partnership’s Hot Blooded round out the main body of the field.     

Michael Dubb and Madaket Stables LLC’s Kygo, Deuce Greathouse’s Shady McGee, and Irving Cowan’s American Prince are also-eligible entrants.

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Never Surprised (Gulfstream Park Photo)

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