- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Fountain of Youth S. (G2) hero ESKENDEREYA (Giant's Causeway) worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 on Sunday morning over Palm Meadows's fast dirt as he is kept on edge for next Saturday's $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, leading a team of a dozen stakes runners on the work tab from trainer Todd Pletcher's arsenal of talent this winter.
Multiple Grade 2 winner BUDDY'S SAINT (Saint Liam) is off the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail after an ankle chip was discovered following a workout at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, trainer Bruce Levine told The Blood-Horse.
"He really didn't work that well this morning, and when he came back he started walking a little bit off and it got progressively worse," Levine said. "We X-rayed him and found the chip in his ankle."
The Craig Family Trust's homebred SIDNEY'S CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) loomed as the controlling speed in Saturday's $150,000 San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita, and the John Sadler trainee capitalized on that advantage to lead throughout in his two-turn debut. With regular rider Joe Talamo aboard, the talented chestnut kicked away from his pursuers turning for home and safely held off the closing Interactif (Broken Vow) by a half-length at the wire.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike), last year's juvenile colt champion, couldn't have gotten much more out of his neck victory in Saturday's $300,000 Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park. In one fell swoop the Bob Baffert trainee proved he could handle dirt, overcame adversity both at the start and on the backside, and suggested the addition of blinkers on the advice of jockey Garrett Gomez was a beneficial move.
Brereton C. Jones' homebred NO SUCH WORD (Canadian Frontier) was making her stakes bow on Saturday in the $125,000 Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park, and wound up stinging her rivals with a 2 1/2-length win under jockey Terry Thompson. Sent off the 6-1 third pick in the nine-filly field, the bay lass rewarded her supporters with payouts of $15, 5.80 and $4.20.
Like the mythological hero for whom he is named, Padua Stables' ODYSSEUS (Malibu Moon) didn't get home in the most straightforward fashion in Saturday's $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3), but the Tom Albertrani pupil did eventually arrive at his destination in the nick of time.
Barbara Vivian and Dominic Vittese's DIVA DELITE (Repent) added a fifth straight victory to her line on Saturday when taking the $170,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs by two lengths under Rosemary Homeister Jr. The dark bay miss, who scored in her first two stakes attempts in the Gasparilla S. and Suncoast S. prior to this one, finished up 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt in 1:46.
Robert LaPenta's ICE BOX (Pulpit) drilled a co-bullet half-mile in :47 1/5 Saturday morning over the fast dirt at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito as he tunes up for his engagement in next Saturday's $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park. The chestnut colt will bid to improve on his fifth-place finish last out in the February 20 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) over the same track and 1 1/8-mile distance of the Florida Derby.