Before attention is turned to the $150,000 Inside Information S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, a $55,600 entry-level allowance for three-year-olds will garner a share of the spotlight. Carded as the 3RD race, the one-turn mile features the WinStar homebred CAL NATION (Distorted Humor), a dazzling debut winner at Gulfstream on February 5.
While inexperience might ultimately preclude a shot at the classics, nothing is likely to be off the table should Cal Nation look the part Saturday. The Todd Pletcher trainee was highly regarded entering his seven-furlong debut, starting at 6-5 against eight rivals. Stalking a fast pace in second through a half-mile, Cal Nation moved to the front approaching the stretch and drew off under hand encouragement to win by 7 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:22. (Photo Courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography)
With a dip in the recent fortunes of stablemate and fellow WinStar homebred Brethren (Distorted Humor), who finished third as the heavy favorite in last week's Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Cal Nation could enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture with a strong effort against five rivals and would have ample time to get in another race before the May 7 Run for the Roses.
Among those challenging Cal Nation are stablemate DANCE CITY (City Zip), a one-length maiden winner in January over 1 1/8 miles who runs for the estate of the late Ned Evans. Returning from a winter break is I'M STEPPIN' IT UP (Congrats), who finished third, beaten 14 1/2 lengths, behind Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) in the Champagne S. (G1) in October, while BOWMAN'S CAUSEWAY (Giant's Causeway) takes a class drop after a rough-trip fourth in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2).