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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.
Trainer Alexis Barba has declared her plans for ALPHIE'S BET (Tribal Rule) and MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein), who each won stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday.
Alphie's Bet, a 2 1/4-length winner of the Sham S. (G3), will point to the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (G1). Multiple Grade 1-placed Make Music for Me, who finally broke his maiden in the grassy Pasadena S., will ship to Keeneland for the Blue Grass S. (G1) on April 10.
Sports fans and entertainment seekers with thoughts of attending this year’s Kentucky Derby could get a chance to purchase general admission tickets for a discounted price if promising colt Super Saver wins his next start on Saturday.
SOUTH / CHAMPION LOOKIN AT LUCKY RETURNS, TRIES DIRT IN REBEL – Lookin At Lucky, the champion 2-year-old of 2009, will kick of what trainer Bob Baffert hopes will be a campaign that leads to a victory on May 1 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) in Saturday’s $300,000 Rebel Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park.
FLORIDA / CHAMPION SHE BE WILD LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK IN FLORIDA OAKS – When she was last seen in the Forward Gal (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park, reigning 2-year-old filly champion and Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) winner She Be Wild finished a disappointing fifth in her first career start over traditional dirt.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) and NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) will make their sophomore debuts on Saturday in Oaklawn Park's $300,000 Rebel S. (G2), the final prep before the April 10 Arkansas Derby (G1). This will be the third straight match-up between the two rivals, with Lookin at Lucky finishing in front each time.
Grade 3-placed SOARING EMPIRE (Empire Maker), a smart winner of a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park in his three-year-old debut, will make the fourth start of his career and first around two turns in the March 20 Florida Derby (G1), trainer Cam Gambolati revealed Thursday.
SHE BE WILD (Offlee Wild), last year's juvenile filly champion, will be the second Eclipse Award from 2009 to compete at Tampa this meet when she meets nine others in the $175,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at 1 1/16 miles. The maiden claiming graduate, whose success in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Arlington-Washington Lassie (G3) was enough to garner divisional honors, is seeking her first win on dirt following a wide-trip fifth in the Forward Gal S. (G2) at Gulfstream on January 31.
Having already successfully raided the three-year-old stakes pots at Tampa Bay Downs this season when Rule (Roman Ruler) took the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) in February, trainer Todd Pletcher will attempt to do it one more time on Saturday in the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3). This time, Pletcher's representative is SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon), who will be making his first start since an authoritative five-length score in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs in November.