‘Rock Star’ Ready to Roll on Championship Meet Opening Day
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Very much the ‘poster horse’ for what the annual Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park represents, Mastic Beach Racing’s Tune In will seek his seventh win in his last 10 starts in Saturday’s $75,000 Jewel.
The Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up who have run for a claiming price of $35,000 or less in 2020-2021, will headline an 11-race program offering nine starter stakes worth $810,000 in purses for the celebration of the blue-collar horses that support day-to-day programs at racetracks across the country.
Post time for Saturday’s 11-race program is noon.
Tune In, who opened his career with a 3 ½-length win in a $20,000 maiden claiming race at Keeneland in April 2019, has developed into a tough-as-nails competitor with a resolute will to win. The Diane Morici-trained gelding has notched a record of six wins, two places and one third in his last nine races.
“He’s a cool dude,” Morici said. “He’s a rock star; he’s a total rock star.”
The son of Country Day, who is coming off a dominating victory in a one-turn mile starter allowance at Gulfstream, will attempt to win for the first time around two turns on dirt in the Jewel. His most recent attempt at two turns on dirt came Oct. 1 at Churchill Downs, where he held the lead in the stretch before settling for second behind multiple graded stakes-placed Major Fed.
“He went two turns at Churchill and got beat by a very nice horse,” Morici said. “At this level I think he should be fine.”
Tune In, who kicked off his impressive 9-race run with back-to-back two-turn victories over the turf at Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream last winter, came back from his Churchill race six weeks later to return to winning form at Gulfstream. He will return in the Jewel off only three weeks between races.
“This is the first time I’m running him back this quick. I usually give him a little bit more time between races, but he did come out of his last race really well,” Morici said. “He shipped to Kentucky twice and ran his eyeballs out. He never missed an oat. He’s a good eater. He’s a class act. He’s just a class act.”
Leonel Reyes as the return mount aboard Tune In.
John Fanelli, LC Racing LLC, Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Girolamo’s Attack will also attempt to win for the first time around two turns in the Jewel. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained 4-year-old gelding is coming off a victory in the one-turn mile Hollywood Lakes at Gulfstream.
“His best race seems to be a one-turn mile. He’s 3-for-3 at Gulfstream at a one-turn mile,” Joseph said. “We’re experimenting going two turns for the first time at a mile-and-an-eighth. We’re going to give it a shot. It’s a question mark if he wants to go two turns.”
Privately purchased after breaking his maiden for a $32,000 claiming price at Gulfstream in April 2020, the son of Girolamo is usually forwardly placed while sprinting.
“Going longer, it allows him to get into an easier rhythm than when we were sprinting him earlier. I think that was the mistake we were making,” Joseph said. “It’s a slower tempo [around two turns].”
Edgard Zayas has the return call aboard the son of Girolamo.
Joseph will also be represented by Magic Cap Stables’ Twelve Volt Man, who became eligible for the Jewel two races back when he won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream while running for a $35,000 tag. The 3-year-old Violence colt finished fourth in the Showing Up Nov. 6 in next start.
Edwin Gonzalez has the mount on STwelve Volt Man.
Glenn Fagan’s Glory of Florida enters the Jewel off a close second-pace finish behind Girolamo’s Attack in the Hollywood Lakes, in which he rallied from mid-pack but was unable to sustain his drive in deep stretch. The Laura Cazares-trained 5-year-old son of Dialed In will be ridden back by Miguel Vasquez.
Michel Winters’ Strike Appeal has ventured from West Virginia to Gulfstream Park with an impressive two-turn record. The Odin Londono Jr.-trained 4-year-old gelding has won eight of his last 10 starts, all around two turns, at Thistledown and Mountaineer Park. The son of Tonalist was claimed two starts back for $25,000 out of an optional claiming allowance. Jockey Erik Barbaran has accompanied Strike Appeal from Mountaineer for the Jewel.
Trainer Michael Maker, who has saddled a record 18 winners of Claiming Crown races, will be represented in the Jewel by Ten Strike Racing and Thorough Crowd’s Hanalei’s Houdini. The 5-year-old Jersey Town gelding, who has raced for a claiming price as low as $16,000, will make his first start for his new connections Friday after being claimed for $50,000 out of a fifth-place finish at Keeneland. Paco Lopez has the call.
J. Richard Perkins’ Ludington, a back-to-back optional claiming allowance winner; Bianco Stable’s Braccio Di Ferro, who captured a $20,000 claiming race by 3 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Nov. 19; GU Racing Stable’s Mo Hawk, who finished second in the 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on Tapeta last time out; and Partner Stable LLC’s Hard Lighting, who ran in the 2020 Blue Grass (G2); round out the field.
Gulstream Park Press Release
Photo: Tune In (Ryan Thompson)