01/06/2011 3:48PM

Gulfstream: Thursday thru 4


Todd Pletcher has been the leading trainer at Gulf every year since '04, a record stretch of 7 in a row. Surely he's the mega-favorite to make it an uprecedented 8, and he gave the first indication of his stable power when the 3yo first-timer Travelin Man ($7.20, J.Velazquez up) ran off to a 7 1/4-length score in the third race here Thursday, Day 2 of the 79-day meet. It wouldn't seem like Travelin Man is among the TAP prospects for the Ky Derby, seeing he's by Trippi, but he sure could be one of those many TAP youngsters to develop into a nice one.

In other early races, trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia moved into a 4-way tie for the early training lead with J.Vazquez, N.P.Zito, and W.Ward when firster High Player ($23), the remaining half of a scheduled entry, ran off and hid by nearly 11 lengths in the opener, marking the second straight day that Iadisernia had sent out the winner of the first race.

In race 2, Cenizo ($7) battled back to narrowly defeat favored Upfrontn'dangerous, giving the owner team of Billy Hays and family their first win of the meet. Hays, the 2nd-leading owner in NoAmerica last year behind only Midwest Thoroughbreds, typically races only in Ky and Ohio but has sent a small string south this winter with trainer Lacy Kerrick.

In race 4, favored New Member ($5) easily prevailed under J.Castellano while the longest shot in the race, Moreapplauseplease, slugged up for 2nd at better than 50-1 to make for some nice vertical exotics.

Up next is race 5, the first leg of the 50-cent pick 5 (carryover, $35,203). BEWARE: Sr. Henry, the better half of the Michael Dubb entry, has been SCRATCHED, leaving only Carson Hall (#1) to race. He's been the early fave, but surely that will change when bettors realize that Sr. Henry is out. There are 8 MTP. More to come, perhaps, on this developing snafu.  . . .

It's been overcast and pretty muggy for most of the afternoon, but still hasn't rained; they're saying it'll come later today or tonight.