10/27/2012 10:45AM

Breeders' Cup Sprint: Gantry comes out of hiding to play his Win and You're In card

Coady Photography
Gantry has raced only once since winning the Smile on July 7 at Calder.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Gantry was the first horse to be declared a definite starter for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint after capturing the Win and You’re In Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder in early July. He’s been pretty much out of sight and out of mind ever since, returning home to Louisiana and making only one start in the nearly four months since he earned his all-expenses-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup.

“That was pretty much the game plan all along,” said trainer Ron Faucheux, who will saddle his first Breeders’ Cup starter. “If we won the Smile, the thinking was to give him some time off, get in one prep back in Louisiana and have a fresh horse for the Breeders’ Cup.”

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Race-by-race coverage, video, early odds]

The plan has gone according to schedule thus far, the only hitch being the unexpected setback Gantry suffered at the hands of Delaunay as the odds-on favorite in the Temperence Hill Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 8.

“The winner set slow fractions that day and Gantry was kind of trapped down on the rail and never had the opportunity to run his race,” said Faucheux. “We gave him three weeks off after the Smile and trained him lightly into that race and were using it more as a work anyway, although naturally we’d liked to have won.”

Gantry has breezed only twice in the seven weeks since the Temperence Hill. He’ll have his final Breeders’ Cup work here Sunday. Javier Castellano, who rode Gantry to an allowance victory at Belmont Park last fall for trainer Mike Hushion, will replace Richard Eramia in the Sprint. Gantry was purchased privately shortly after his Belmont allowance win and was turned over to Faucheux at Fair Grounds where he swept all three sprint stakes during the 2011-12 season.

“Replacing Richard was a difficult decision and a tough call because he’s a good rider and knows the horse so well,” said Faucheux. “But Javier’s won on him before and when you get to the Breeders’ Cup it helps to have a rider who has been there and won’t feel the pressure as much. Besides, I’ll be nervous enough for the two of us.

“He’s going to be a longshot in this field but I fully expect him to run back to the kind of race he ran in the Smile or those efforts he put in last winter at the Fair Grounds.”