02/18/2012 11:18PM

Florida fast track


You know what I forget from time to time?  That people actually enjoy simply looking at photos of horses.  

Here are photos of horses flourishing in southern Florida right now - from promising rookies to all-stars  - at Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows.

Above:  The Gulfstream Park paddock.  

Above:  Get Stormy wins the G1 Gulfstream Park Handicap - his third Grade 1 (!) - for trainer Tom Bush and owner Mary Sullivan.  Ramon Dominguez was aboard.

Above:  Three-time stakes winner Friend Or Foe recently began preparing for his 2012 return.  Like his sire Friends Lake - also a handsome chestnut with a blaze - Friend Or Foe is trained by John Kimmel.

Above: This cool old Peter Walder trainee is named Pyramyst, and she's won 23 of 63 races, with 12 seconds and 12 thirds.  The 10-year-old Pyramid Peak mare has raced for 9 years and earned over $500,000.  In her only two stakes appearances, she ran 1st and 2nd (her stakes win?  The 2008 George Rosenberger Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park).   

Above/below:  Discreet Dancer and Jake Nelson, after a workout, just before sunrise (above).  Discreet Dancer is one of Todd Pletcher's many Derby hopefuls and, below, Spring Hill Farm (John Velazquez up) is another. 

Above:  Jonathan Sheppard's cute-faced Ever So Lucky enjoys a good friend to rub against.  The Indian Charlie colt sat out the Hutcheson.

Above:  Trained by Michael Matz, the handsome Union Rags stands tall on many people's Kentucky Derby lists.

Above:  Champion Awesome Feather just keeps rolling along.  She's now 9-for-9, after her score in the Sunshine Millions Distaff.  She's trained by Chad Brown.

Above:  Stuart Janney gives his new Grade 1 winner Hymn Book an appreciative pat in the Donn Handicap winner's circle.

Above:  Alex Solis and Flat Out, standing out at Gulfstream.

Above:  Grey on grey....  Snow Top Mountain (outside) outruns Hit It Rich in the Suwanee River Stakes.

Above:  2011 Hopeful Stakes winner Currency Swap is currently training for his return, for trainer Terri Pompay.

Above:  Dale Romans' Breeders' Cup winner Tapitsfly, year after year, keeps earning checks. The lovely lass is now 5.

Above:  Toby's Corner, set to return to racing on Monday at Laurel Park, looks like he's part of a jungle scene at Palm Meadows.

Above/below:  Animal Kingdom looked great training on the turf recently. It was great to see his successful return, at Gulfstream Park, on Saturday.  Here's hoping for a wonderful 2012 for the Graham Motion runner.

Above:  Multiple Grade 1 winner It's Tricky works toward her return.

Above:  Travelin Man won an allowance optional claiming race February 9 over Golden Moka.  It was his first race since August.

Above:  The morning before the Donn Handicap was rainy as Shackleford went through his final preparations for the Donn Handicap for trainer Dale Romans.

Above and below:  They just don't get prettier than Preakness winner Shackleford (below, ridden by Jesus Castanan, Donn H.).

Above:  Javier Castellano flashes a smile aboard Derby hopeful El Padrino.

Above:  Gourmet Dinner is back running again.  At 2, he won 3 stakes.  At 3, he was stakes-placed.  This year, for trainer Bruce Brown, he ran 4th in his first start in nearly a year.

Above:  I love Will's Wildcat!  The stakes-winning Eurosilver gelding, trained by Jimmy Baker, won an allowance optional claimer over a strong field (including Arch Traveler, Tahitian Warrior, Nathans H Q and others) on February 10.  

Above/below:  This errant flamingo arrived in the infield pond before the meet started, and he (or she) seems contented there.    One can only guess where the pink beauty came from.  I call it Pinky.  Below, Pinky watches a turf race.

Above/below:  Kentucky Derby hopeful Gemologist on a beautiful morning (above) and, below, Kentucky Derby hopeful Algorithms relaxes during down time.  Both bay 3-year-olds colts are trained by - surprise!- Todd Pletcher.

Above:  The paddock is beautiful lit in the evenings and even, on occasion, provides backdrop for music acts like Uncle Kracker (below).

Above:  This photo really has nothing to do with the racetrack, but the ocean is just down the road from Gulfstream Park.   When the moonlight dances on the water, it's magical.  So if you go to Gulfstream, go that extra distance down Hallandale Beach Boulevard and enjoy some beach time.

For more information about Gulfstream Park, including its winter schedule: http://www.gulfstreampark.com