Plesa, Lopez start meet strongly

Trainer Eddie Plesa saddled four winners during the first two days of Gulfstream Park's winter meet.Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and jockey Paco Lopez had themselves a very good summer on the New Jersey Shore. They are also enjoying themselves quite a bit since getting down to south Florida and settling in for the winter at Gulfstream Park. Original Article from Daily Racing Form Plesa sent out four winners, two apiece on Saturday and Sunday and all with Lopez aboard, to take a quick lead in the trainer standings. Lopez did even better, posting seven victories on opening weekend. “Just one of those things when you are on a good streak and things are clicking,” said Plesa. Plesa moved his entire base of operations to Palm Meadows for the first time this winter, although he was a bit hesitant to say his new surroundings are directly responsible for the hot streak his barn has been on for the better part of the past month. “I don’t want to say yes and I don’t want to say no,” said Plesa. “Palm Meadows is an outstanding facility and I can tell the horses really enjoy being up there. How much it would make a difference, I really don’t know.” Plesa is also under no delusion that he might unseat perennial leading trainer Todd Pletcher atop the standings this winter, despite the red-hot beginning. “I don’t really have any aspirations of being leading trainer here,” said Plesa with a smile. “At Monmouth, maybe, but not here.” Among Plesa’s four winners last weekend was the well-bred 2-year-old filly Coral Way, who won her maiden impressively at second asking on Saturday. Coral Way is a daughter of Smoke Glacken and is owned by Besilu Stables. “She’s a nice filly,” said Plesa. “She finished third to Puddifoot, who I think is as good a filly as I’ve had in a long time. At the moment this filly is about a half a notch below her and really showed what she could do on Saturday.” Plesa also said that Florida Derby and Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday continues to progress nicely at Palm Meadows and if all goes well could have his first breeze before the end of the month. Jewel attracts 10 runners Saturday will be a busy day on the local front. Not only will Gulfstream present eight Claiming Crown races with a total value of $1 million, but crosstown rival Calder also offers three stakes, including the Grade 3 Tropical Turf and Grade 3 My Charmer handicaps. The Claiming Crown is anchored by the $200,000 Jewel, to be run at 1 1/8 miles for horses which have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2012. The Jewel drew a field of 10, including Bernie the Maestro, winner of the seven-furlong Rapid Transit on last year’s Claiming Crown card. Rose to Gold tries turf Rose to Gold, one of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country earlier this season, will launch her comeback against older horses while also making her turf debut in the My Charmer. Rose to Gold has not started since finishing eighth behind division leaders Princess of Sylmar and Beholder in the Kentucky Oaks. The My Charmer drew a full field of 12, led by graded stakes winners Naples Bay, Strathnaver, and Somali Lemonade, along with locals Angelica Zapatica and Parranda.
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