HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Grade 3 winner Sole Volante, unraced since the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1) and undefeated on turf, tops 31 3-year-olds nominated to the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby Saturday, Dec. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
The Derby and $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, both on turf at 1 1/16 miles, are joined on the program by the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens for 3-year-olds and up going two miles on the grass.
Last fall, Sole Volante broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park West and won the one-mile Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream to open his career, both on the grass. This year, the Karakonite gelding was moved to the main track and ran third in the Mucho Macho Man, won the Sam F. Davis (G3) and was second in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) before much of racing was paused amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sole Volante returned to win an optional claiming allowance June 10 at Gulfstream and was sixth just 10 days later in the Belmont Stakes (G1) to lead off a reconfigured Triple Crown series. He lost all chance after being squeezed back at the start of the Kentucky Derby and finished 11th.
Also prominent among Tropical Park Derby nominees are Fancy Liquor, half-length winner of the American Turf (G2) Sept. 5, and Mike Maker-trained stablemate Don Juan Kitten, winner of the James W. Murphy Oct. 3 at Pimlico; 2019 With Anticipation (G3) winner Fighting Seabee; Venezuelan Hug, who captured the Millions Turf Preview Nov. 21 at Gulfstream West; and Dack Janiel’s, third in the Dec. 5 Claiming Crown Jewel.
Waterford Stable’s Speaktomeofsummer, winner of the Lake Placid (G2) this summer at Saratoga, Paradise Farm Corp. and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Valley View (G3) winner Stunning Sky and Live Oak Plantation homebred American Giant, who captured the one-mile Cellars Shiraz Nov. 7 at Gulfstream West, are among 30 nominees to the Tropical Park Oaks along with fellow stakes winners Ask Bailey, Crystalle, Duopoly, Evil Lyn, Tournesol and Virginia Beach.
Trainer Mike Maker, back-to-back winner of the Allen Jerkens in 2016-2017, has nine of the 26 nominees to this year’s race led by multiple stakes winner Muggsamatic, most recently fifth behind fellow nominee High Noon Rider it the Claiming Crown Express. Also nominated are last year’s runner-up Soglio, second in the 2020 W. L. McKnight (G3); Grade 1-placed Focus Group, winner of the 2019 Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream and 2019 Bald Eagle Derby winner He’s No Lemon.
Photo Credit: Ryan Thompson