Versatile Emmanuel Returns to Gulfstream for G3 Canadian Turf

March 2, 2023

Emmanuel breaks his maiden on debut at Gulfstream Park in December of 2021 (Ryan Thompson)

Gulfstream Park Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— A year after arriving in South Florida as one of Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s top 3-year-old prospects on dirt, Siena Farm and WinStar Farm’s Emmanuel returns to Gulfstream Park this weekend as a multiple graded-stakes winner on the turf.

Emmanuel is the likely favorite in the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) for older horses going 1 1/16 miles, one of eight graded stakes on the Fountain of Youth (G2) Day program. The More Than Ready colt made his stakes debut in the 2022 Fountain of Youth, finishing fourth as the second choice for his first career loss.

“He’s been a versatile horse,” Pletcher said. “He really seems to have found his specialty on the turf.”

Following the Fountain of Youth, Emmanuel ran third in the Blue Grass (G1) before being moved to the grass, over which he won the Pennine Ridge (G2) at Belmont Park in his turf debut. He made one more start in the Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1) before going to the sidelines.

Emmanuel went unraced for six months before making a triumphant return in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay (G3) Feb. 4, coming from off the pace to win by 1 ¾ lengths under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who gets the return call in the Canadian Turf.

“Really strong comeback race,” Pletcher said. “He’s trained really well since then. [He’s had a] couple good breezes [and] it seems like he’s really just doing well at the moment.”

Emmanuel drew Post 3 in a field of 10 for the Canadian Turf and will carry topweight of 124 pounds, yielding from two to six pounds to his rivals.

“You’re always concerned if they’re going to be able to repeat that performance, so that’s why we were kind of monitoring him closely,” Pletcher said. “But the way he’s breezed since the race, it seems like he’s really maintained form. We felt good about coming back here.”

Pletcher will also send out Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Steady On in the Canadian Turf. The 4-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt is seeking his first stakes victory after running second by a half-length in the Gio Ponti and missing by a nose in the Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream. He is coming off a fourth in the one mile and 70-yard Carousel Club Handicap Jan. 28. Each of the last two races have come over Gulfstream’s all-weather Tapeta course.

“We’re looking forward to getting him back on the turf,” Pletcher said. “He handled the synthetic fine, but he just seems to be at his best on the grass. I think the distance is ideal.”

Pletcher previously won the Canadian Turf with Sombeyay in 2020, Doubles Partner in 2012, Twilight Meteor in 2009, champion English Channel in 2006 and Newfoundland in 2004.

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