Archive for December 2011

Frolic’s Revenge shows that she can win on turf

In her turf debut, Frolic’s Revenge got a savvy ride from Paco Lopez and beat Ready Signal by a neck in the Ginger Brew Stakes.

Starting with an impressive debut win in a sprint in May, Frolic’s Revenge established herself as one of South Florida’s top 2-year-old fillies in dirt races.

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But based on her breeding, trainer Milt Wolfson always thought some of the best races for Frolic’s Revenge might come on turf.

On Saturday, she proved Wolfson right and gave some Gulfstream Park long-shot bettors an early Christmas present when she beat Ready Signal by a neck in the $60,000 Ginger Brew Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The final time was 1:42.84 — solid for 2-year-old fillies.

The victory was the third in eight starts for Frolic’s Revenge and her second in a stakes.

She is owned and was bred by Stride Rite Racing Stable, a partnership of South Florida residents who have had several stakes winners trained by Wolfson and his assistant, Kathy Davey.

Because the Ginger Brew was her turf debut, Frolic’s Revenge went off at 16-1 in a 12-horse field that had several fillies who had won turf races at major tracks.

Ready Signal was a 25-1 shot — the third-highest price in the field. Ann of the Dance, at 5-1, finished third, followed by Welcome Dance at 7-2.

The results produced $2 payoffs of $1,079.20 for the exacta, $5,732.10 for the trifecta and $38,569.60 for the superfecta.

“I was surprised at how [the bettors] overlooked her,” Wolfson said in the winner’s circle.

He said he was not surprised by Frolic’s Revenge or by the ride she received from Paco Lopez, who led Gulfstream jockeys in wins in 2010 and in its 2011 meet from January through April.

“I didn’t have to tell Paco anything other than to get her near the lead and to keep her on the inside,” Wolfson said.

Lopez, riding Frolic’s Revenge for the first time, stuck to those instructions in a race where jockey Juan Leyva and Ready Signal used catch-us-if-you-can tactics.

Ready Signal, trained by Amy Tarrant, was in the far outside post, with Frolic’s Revenge just inside her.

Frolic’s Revenge shot out to the lead until Ready Signal moved in front around the first turn.

Ready Signal led Frolic’s Revenge by 2 1/2 lengths after a half mile and by the same margin after three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.08.

Lopez angled Frolic’s Revenge outside coming around the far turn and caught Ready Signal about 200 yards from the finish. They dueled to the wire, with Frolic’s Revenge winning in a photo finish.

Frolic’s Revenge began her career on May 1 by winning at 4 1/2 furlongs at Calder Casino & Race Course. On Aug. 27, she won the one-mile Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder.

Stride Rite owned and Wolfson trained multiple-stakes winners Lindsay Frolic and Stormy Frolic, the mother of Frolic’s Revenge.

Steve and Anne Friedfertig of Aventura and Norman and Carol Thaw of Weston own Stride Rite.

The sire of Frolic’s Revenge is Vindication, a son of Seattle Slew.

Racing schedule
In observance of Christmas, Gulfstream will not have racing Sunday.

On Monday, usually a dark day, Gulfstream will have 11 races, with the first post time of 12:35 p.m.

Gulfstream’s next stakes will be over the New Year’s weekend, with two Grade 3 stakes and the new Gulfstream Park Derby that it is billed as the “first Derby of the year.”

On Saturday, Gulfstream will have the $100,000 Mr. Prospector, at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.

On Jan. 1, it will have the $100,000 Old Hat, at six furlongs on dirt for newly turned 3-year-old fillies.

The $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby, for newly turned 3-year-old males, also will be on New Year’s Day. Entries will be out Thursday for the 1 1/16-mile dirt stakes.

It will be the first in a series of preps for the $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1) at Gulfstream on March 31.

• Fort Loudon, this year’s top 2-year-old in South Florida, is healthy but will not be in the Gulfstream Park Derby or the Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 29, his trainer, Stanley Gold, said Saturday.

Fort Loudon swept this year’s three-race Florida Stallion Stakes series at Calder.

On Nov. 5, he finished seventh in a 13-horse field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs. He had post 12 and was on the outside during most of the race.

“He is back in training and is fine,” Gold said. “But we are going to give him a little more time.”

Gulfstream: Frolic’s Revenge connects at 16-1 in Ginger Brew

Frolic's RevengeFrolic’s Revenge was the only member in the starting lineup for Saturday’s $60,000 Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park with Grade 1 experience, having competed in both the Alcibiades and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Yet she still went off at generous odds of 16-1 in the overnight turf stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

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Despite being considered an outsider by the bettors, Frolic’s Revenge was able to parlay a perfect trip into a neck decision over another longshot, the 25-1 Ready Signal, to win the Ginger Brew in her turf debut.

Frolic’s Revenge, a homebred daughter of Vindication owned by trainer Milt Wolfson’s Stride Rite Racing Stable, broke in stride and was hustled early by jockey Paco Lopez to chase the pacesetting Ready Signal into the clubhouse turn. The pair then proceeded to dominate the race the remainder of the way, Frolic’s Revenge ultimately overtaking Ready Signal nearing the eighth pole before digging in resolutely to outlast that rival to the wire.

Ann of the Dance, who stumbled when appearing to clip the heels of Sisterhood nearing the far turn, recovered to finish best of all, getting within a half-length of the runner-up at the wire.

Karlory Vary, the tepid 5-2 favorite in a full field of 12 2-year-old fillies, steadied early then failed to seriously menace while racing wide throughout.

Frolic’s Revenge complete 1 1/16 miles over a firm course in 1:42.84 and paid $34.20.

“I couldn’t believe she was that big a price. If you looked at all her figures she was right on par with the others,” said Wolfson. “The only thing was that she’d never been on grass. She got hung out in the middle of the track in the Breeders’ Cup but she has speed and I told Paco to put her right in the race.”

Wolfson said Frolic’s Revenge could make her next start in the Sweetest Chant on Jan. 22.

“The next one for 3-year-old fillies is on the grass too but it’s nice to know she can go either way,” said Wolfson. “That gives us a lot of options.”

Zero Rate Policy wins The Sunshine Stake at Gulfstream Park

Any doubts about Zero Rate Policy’s ability to stay seven furlongs were erased in the 1:21.57 it took the improving 3-year-old to cover the distance en route to his 1 1/4-length victory over a late-running Manicero in Sunday’s $60,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream.

Zero Rate Policy, a Florida-bred son of Trippi, stalked the early pace of Our Edge under jockey Paco Lopez, gained command in early stretch, and then withstood a belated final surge from Manicero to register the second stakes victory of his career. Zero Rate Policy, who had never been beyond six furlongs in eight previous starts, also won Monmouth Park’s Rumson in June.

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Manicero, turning back to a sprint off a series of two- turn races at Calder, dropped near the rear of the pack during the early stages of the Sunshine State while racing far behind the leaders. A seven-time stakes winner, Manicero angled to the outside leaving the final turn and finished full of run but could not catch the winner. It’s Never to Late, winner of the first edition of the restricted Sunshine State decided earlier this year, rallied mildly to finish third.

Zero Rate Policy is trained by Terri Pompay for owners William Lawrence and the Klaravich Stables. He paid $6.40 as the tepid favorite in a field of nine Florida-breds.

“I really liked this horse today,” said Pompay. “He’s been training great, improving all the time and I didn’t think the seven furlongs would bother him.”

Pompay said she has nothing specific picked out for Zero Rate Policy’s next start but hinted the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 26 could be an option.

“There are so many spots for a horse like this down here during the winter and one thing we do know is that he loves this track,” said Pompay.

Jockey Jose Lezcano said Manicero didn’t like the dirt hitting him in the face during the early stages of the race.

“He had a little trouble in the gate and didn’t break that sharp, then when the dirt started hitting him in the face he started to back up even more,” said Lezcano. “Once we got to the quarter pole, he just took off but we ran out of room.”

Paco wins Gulfstream Park stake on Zero Rate Policy

Trainer Terri Pompay had a lot of confidence in Zero Rate Policy going into Sunday’s $60,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The son of Trippi had shown a fondness for the racing surface by breaking his maiden in his last start over it on April 23 and demonstrated that he had returned to peak form with a four-length triumph at Monmouth Park in his most recent start.

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Yet, Pompay had one nagging reservation as Zero Rate Policy went to post against eight fellow Florida-bred horses in the seven-furlong feature. He had never run beyond six furlongs in his previous eight starts.

She needn’t have been concerned. The strapping 2-1 favorite handled the extra furlong and his elders with a thoroughbred professional victory by 1 ¼ lengths under jockey Paco Lopez.

“I really liked him today. He’s been training great and improving all the time. I wasn’t sure about the seven-eighths, but now it’s good to know he handles that far,” Pompay said. .”We knew he loves the track here from last [meeting].”

The 3-year-old gelding broke alertly from his outside post position to rate a few lengths behind pacesetter Our Edge along the backstretch. Lopez moved the son of Trippi on the far turn and engaged the pacesetter leaving the turn into the homestretch. Zero Rate Policy quickly opened up a clear lead in mid-stretch and had plenty left to hold off the late surge by Manicero.

“We sat in perfect position. My horse was really strong today,” said Lopez, who is the two-time defending riding champ at Gulfstream. “I knew in the stretch Manicero would be coming. I’ve ridden him before and he’s a nice horse. I actually moved a little early wanting to get the jump on Manicero and that’s why my horse got a little tired. Luckily, we had enough to hold on.”

Manicero, a multiple-stakes winner owned and trained by Leo Azpurua, dropped far back during the early going before making a late rush under Jose Lezcano.

“He had a little trouble in the gate and didn’t break that sharp. Then when the dirt started hitting him in the face he started to back up even more. Once we got to around the quarter pole, he just took off, but we ran out of room.”

It’s Never to Late, a three-time winner at Gulfstream earlier in the year, finished third, a length behind Manicero and a neck in front of a tiring Our Edge.

Zero Rate Policy, who ran the seven furlongs in a swift 1:21 .57, earned $36,000 for his fifth victory in nine races for Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence. His trainer is looking forward to a bright future with her gelding.

“I think he’ll like grass, but right now we know that he does well at six and seven furlongs and there are plenty opportunities for him. He’s a Florida-bred and the (Florida) Sunshine Millions races are all here this year ($200,000 Sprint on Jan. 28),” Pompay said. “I think he’ll like grass, but for now we’ll probably just keep him doing what he’s doing. It’s been a great year for us and this is a good way to get the meet going.”

Gulfstream Park: Lopez gunning for a third straight riding title

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Ask any racing fan which jockey has won the last two riding titles at Gulfstream Park and it’s a good bet few will come up with the correct answer, Paco Lopez.

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Competing against the toughest jockey colony in the country that includes Hall of Famer Edgar Prado, future Hall of Famer John Velazquez, and such nationally renown riders as Javier Castellano, Julien Leparoux, Kent Desormeaux, and Alex Solis among others, Lopez has topped the standings here each of the last two seasons. He’ll open his bid to become only the third jockey in track history to win three straight Gulfstream riding championships – a feat previously accomplished by only Jeffrey Fell (1977-79) and Jorge Chavez (1999-2001) – when the 2012 session opens Saturday.

Lopez won 70 races to capture his first local crown in 2009 and bettered that mark a year ago, riding 83 winners during the 2010 meet despite being sidelined for one month after suffering a harline fracture of his elbow when involved in the same spill that left jockey Eibar Coa temporarily paralyzed in February. Overall, Lopez has captured six riding titles since coming to the United States from his native Mexico and beginning his career at Calder during the summer of 2007.

“Winning titles are important from a publicity standpoint, but what makes me happiest is just to be riding races,” said Lopez who is named on eight horses on opening day, including Blings Express in the Spectacular Bid Stakes. “And it doesn’t matter to me what kind of race I’m in. I ride my mounts just as hard whether I’m in a stakes race or a $5,000 claimer.”

Lopez, who competed in his first Breeders’ Cup race this year aboard Headache in the Classic, has been a regular on the New Jersey circuit for the past several summers. He won the elite Monmouth Park meet, when astronomical purses lured top riders from around the country, in 2010, but is considering taking a different path when Gulfstream closes its doors next April.

“Paco just bought a home in Fort Lauderdale and has had so much success the last two years at Gulfstream that staying in Florida during the winter is a no-brainer,” said Lopez’s agent Cory Moran. “But with Monmouth racing only a few days a week and the purses going up in New York this year, if it looks like we have more New York business coming our way during this meet, it might seal our decision to head in that direction when we leave here next spring.”

Tony Dutrow back at Gulfstream

Trainer Tony Dutrow skipped the 2011 Gulfstream Park meeting, opting instead to winter at Oaklawn Park. But Dutrow is back again this season with a stable of 25 horses, topped by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Grace Hall.

“This year has been a rebuilding one for me,” said Dutrow who is stabled at Palm Meadows. “I lost a number of my clientele for one reason or another. Edward Evans died, the Mercedes Stable didn’t send any horses back to the East Coast after California got dirt tracks, and I was fired by Rick Porter. I lost like five major people all together that made up maybe 90 percent of my stable and just didn’t feel like I had the horses to come to south Florida. I don’t know how, but we’ve managed to win over $5 million this year, and right now, I feel like I’m in good shape with horse flesh and really looking forward to having an even bigger year in 2012.”

Dutrow hopes to put an exclamation point on 2011 with a victory here Saturday by his promising 2-year-old prospect Ancient Rome in the Spectacular Bid. He also welcomed Grace Hall back to his barn Wednesday, with the Kentucky Oaks her first major goal at 3.

“Hopefully, she’ll have the same plans this winter as I do, which right now would be the Davona Dale at the end of February and the Gulfstream Oaks at the end of the meet,” Dutrow said.

Dutrow said he’s also a fan of the early opening here this year.

“I think the early opening is great,” Dutrow said. “New York is on the inner track now and Kentucky is done, so why not get down here and get into action. Most people don’t stick around until April anyway, and this way Gulfstream doesn’t have to beat its head against the wall to get some good things to happen in April.”

Ullapool puts in quick drill

Ullapool, a 2-year-old filly by Langfuhr, sizzled six furlongs in 1:12.40 for trainer Wesley Ward here Thursday morning. Ullapool, who owns a maiden win in three career starts, posted splits of 23.40 seconds, 34.80, and 58.80 before finishing around the turn at the one-mile pole.

“I thought about supplementing her and racing her against the boys in the Spectacular Bid on Saturday and right now I wish I had,” Ward said while Ullapool was pulling up after her work. “I’ll probably run her in a one-other-than allowance race and then bring her back against fillies in the Old Hat.”

The Grade 3 Old Hat will be decided at seven furlongs on New Year’s Day.

◗ The new 1 1/16-mile finish line will get an early test with Saturday’s seventh race, the first 1 1/16-mile race to be conducted here since 2004. The $53,500 optional claimer for 2-year-olds drew a field of eight.

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