G1 Florida Derby Headlines April 2 Card with 6 Graded Stakes
Historic Triple Crown Prep among 10 Stakes Worth $2.2 Million
Undefeated Kathleen O. Leads G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks Noms
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Tami Bobo’s Simplification, a dominating winner of the March 5 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2), and C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio, a convincing victor in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull (G3), are prominent among the 32 3-year-olds nominated for the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa April 2 at Gulfstream Park.
The 71st running of the Curlin Florida Derby will headline a program offering 10 stakes, including six graded stakes, worth $2.2 million. Starters in Gulfstream Park’s tradition-rich stakes for 3-year-olds have gone on to win 58 Triple Crown races, including 24 runnings of the Kentucky Derby (G1). Participants in this year’s Florida Derby will vie for 170 qualifying points for the May 7 Kentucky Derby with 100 going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth-place finisher.
Antonio Sano-trained Simplification, a front-running winner of the Jan. 1 Mucho Macho Man, demonstrated a new dimension while closing for second in the Holy Bull following a troubled start and wide trip. The Florida-bred colt rated in seventh on the backstretch before making a sweeping move to the lead and drawing away to win the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth.
Simplification is eligible for a share of the $100,000 Florida-Bred Bonus, which will be distributed on a 70-20-10 basis for an in-the-money finish. There will also be a $100,000 ‘Win Only’ Bonus available to offspring of Florida Sire Stakes-nominated stallions.
Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained White Abarrio, who bypassed the Fountain of Youth, defeated Simplification by 4 ½ lengths in the Holy Bull in his 2022 debut. The son of Race Day was purchased by his current connections after debuting at Gulfstream Sept. 24 with a 6 ¾-length triumph. He went on to win an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream by four lengths five weeks later. White Abarrio concluded his 2021 campaign with a third-place finish in the Nov. 27 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs behind Smile Happy and Classic Causeway. Joseph-trained A.P.’s Secret and Skippylongstocking are also nominated.
OGMA Investments LLC and Jack Hardin Towell Jr.’s O Captain, who closed with a rush from 11th and last to finish third in the Fountain of Youth at 87-1, is being pointed to the Florida Derby. The Gustavo Delgado-trained son of Carpe Diem led throughout his 5 ½-furlong debut to win at first asking at Gulfstream in August before returning Jan. 1 to finish third in the Limehouse Stakes.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is expected to seek a record seventh Florida Derby success with Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Charge It, a son of Tapit who is coming off an eye-catching 8 ½-length maiden victory at Gulfstream Feb. 12. Pletcher-trained Emmanuel, Major General, Pioneer of Medina, Swing Shift and Mo Donegal are also nominated.
Iris Smith Stable LLC’s Shipsational, who finished second in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), is scheduled to travel across the state of Florida to run in the Florida Derby. The Edward Barker-trained son of Midshipman won three of four starts last year, including a pair of New York-bred stakes triumphs.
Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Doug O’Neill, who teamed with Nyquist to win the 2016 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, have nominated Slow Down Andy, the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) winner who finished off the board in the Feb. 19 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. O’Neill-trained Win the Day, an easy maiden winner at Santa Anita March 6, is also nominated.
Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy was nominated but is not scheduled to run in the Florida Derby.
Undefeated Kathleen O. Leads G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks Noms
Winngate Stables LLC’s Kathleen O. leads a list of 13 3-year-old fillies for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the daughter of Upstart, is undefeated in three career starts, including the March 5 Davona Dale (G2), which she won going away by two lengths. Kathleen O. won at first asking in a Nov. 12 maiden test at Aqueduct before winning the Jan. 1 Cash Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 8 ½ lengths.
The 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Oaks will offer 170 qualifying points for the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) with 100 going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth-place finisher.
Robert and Lawana Low’s Classy Edition and Dixiana Farms LLC’s Cocktail Moments, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Davona Dale, are nominated to the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Pletcher-trained Classy Edition entered the Davona Dale off three-straight victories against New York-bred company last year. Pletcher-trained Favor, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile who broke her maiden and won an optional claiming allowance with authority during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet for Stonestreet Stables LLC, is also nominated to the 52nd running of the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Kenny McPeek-trained Cocktail Moments won at first asking by nearly 10 lengths at Churchill Downs Nov. 27, before finishing third in the Dec. 26 Untapable at Fair Grounds. McPeek-trained Swiss Skydiver captured the 2020 Gulfstream Park Oaks before going on to finish second in the Kentucky Oaks and defeat the boys in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
The $200,000 Pan American (G2), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for older horses that will mark its 61st running, drew 19 nominations, including Susan and Jim Hill’s Phantom Currency, who registered a front-running victory in the Feb. 27 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream, as well as Grade 1 stakes winners Channel Maker and Gufo.
The $150,000 Orchid (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, drew 11 nominations, including Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.’s Beautiful Lover, a Christophe Clement-trained daughter of Arch who captured the Jan. 29 La Prevoyante (G3) at Gulfstream before finishing fourth in the March 5 The Very One (G3). Hunter Valley Farm, Debra O’Connor and Marc Detampel’s Family Way and Flaxman Holdings LLC’s Harajuku, who finished second and third in the The Very One, are among the more prominent nominees for the 58th running of the Orchid.
The $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Appleton (G3), a mile turf stakes for older horses that will be run for the 70th time April 2, drew 18 nominations, including Lael Stable’s undefeated Chez Pierre, who followed up three victories in France, with a March 9 optional allowance win at Tampa. Calumet Farm’s Grade 1 winner Tango Tango Tango is also nominated.
The $100,000 Ghostzapper (G3), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for older horses that will mark its 27th renewal, attracted 15 nominations, including Repole Stable’s Fearless, who is coming off second-place finishes in the Fred W. Hooper (G3) and Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). . The Pletcher trainee is joined on the nominations list by Don Alberto Stable, WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC’s First Constitution, who is coming off a 6 ¾-length front-running victory in the Jan. 27 Jazil at Aqueduct. Courtlandt Farm’s Greatest Honour, the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth winner last year, is also nominated to the Ghostzapper.
The Pan American, Orchid, Kitten’s Joy Appleton, and Ghostzapper all offer a $25,000 ‘Win Only’ Bonus for a Florida-bred winner.
The $100,000 Sir Shackleton presented by New Holland, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses, drew 15 nominations. The $100,000 Sand Springs, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, attracted 13 nominations. A total of 23 3-year-old fillies were nominated to the $100,000 Sanibel Island, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes presented by US Foods. The $100,000 Cutler Bay, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, drew 15 nominations.
Gulfstream Park Press Release