Hutcheson, Old Hat on tap as Gulfstream offers stakes quintet
Sheikh of Sheikhs, winner of the October 31 Juvenile Dirt Sprint at Keeneland as the favorite, is the one to beat in the Hutcheson. Joel Rosario picks up the mount for Wesley Ward and the Discreetly Mine colt is 2-for-2 at one-turn distances, the lone setback being a sixth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
Multiple stakes victor Full Salute, who exits a one-length tally in the November 28 Buffalo Man at Gulfstream Park West, is a top rival in the seven-horse field along with Juvenile Dirt Sprint runner-up Noholdingback Bear and Awesome Banner, who makes his first appearance since an impressive 9 ¾-length debut score at Gulfstream in early June.
Ballet Diva is a likely favorite among six runners in the Old Hat. Trained by Stanley Gold, the Hear No Evil filly captured the Susan’s Girl division of the Florida Sire Stakes series and rolled to a two-length decision most recently in the November 28 House Party at Gulfstream Park West. Jose Caraballo retains the mount.
Lucy N Ethel, unbeaten from two career starts at Parx, is a top challenger following a 13-length romp over allowance foes. She’ll make her stakes bow for trainer Ramon Preciado with regular rider Joshua Navarro. Last-out maiden winner My Dear Venezuela is also part of the line-up.
The $100,000 Mucho Macho Man will feature seven 3-year-olds at a one-turn mile and Awesome Speed will be seeking his third straight victory. The Alan Goldberg-trained colt exits a nice win in the November 14 James F. Lewis at Laurel Park and gets a new rider in Rosario.
His rivals include Fellowship, who will try to make amends for a runner-up effort as the favorite in the November 28 Smooth Air, and last-out maiden winner Aggressive Driver.
Ten turf runners will square off in the $100,000 Dania Beach (G3) and trainer Chad Brown has a dangerous pair of uncoupled entrants in Ray’s the Bar and Life Imitates Art.
Ray’s the Bar finished a close third in the Pilgrim (G3) before recording a troubled 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and the English-bred Exceed and Excel colt will keep Javier Castellano up. Life Imitates Art just missed last time in the November 28 Pulpit at Gulfstream Park West, rallying to be a neck second, and the son of More Than Ready will add Rosario to the saddle.
Mountain Music Man is another top contender in the 7 ½-furlong turf affair. Winner of his first two starts, including the October 30 Awad Stakes at Belmont Park, the bay colt is eligible to show more after finishing third as the odds-on choice in the Pulpit. John Velazquez has the call.
The $100,000 Ginger Brew serves as the filly counterpart to the Dania Beach and Lira will look to extend her winning ways. A daughter of Giant’s Causeway, the Pletcher charge rolled to easy victories while opening her career on Gulfstream Park West’s turf course, taking an October 11 maiden special weight before posting a 2 ¼-length score in the November 28 Wait a While, and Castellano will take over the reins aboard the chestnut.
Pricedtoperfection could find this company to her liking following a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) for Brown, and Auntie Joy merits consideration off a sharp debut score on turf at Churchill Downs.
Sheikh of Sheikhs photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography