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Cashel Castle will miss Hutcheson
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Cashel Castle, the undefeated 3-year-old colt who was training for Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park, will not run after coming out of a Tuesday workout with an injury to his right front ankle.
Chris Block, the trainer of *, shipped his horse back to Classic Mile Training Center in Ocala, Fla., on Wednesday, a day after the horse worked three furlongs in 36 seconds at Gulfstream. Block, who was scheduled to head back to his Chicago base Thursday, insinuated that Gulfstream's main track contributed to the injury, which Block said was a strain to the soft tissue above the ankle.
"I brought a sound horse to Gulfstream, not a pimple on him," Block said. "I galloped him two days, worked him yesterday [Tuesday], you draw your own conclusions. I'm not very happy about it. I'm very disappointed. I'm very disgusted. I'm not going to point fingers at anybody, but you know the problems they've had. He's been the soundest horse all along. I'm up in the training track in Ocala, he hasn't taken any step backward. I go there to breeze an easy three-eighths and come out of there with a problem. That's not right."
Gulfstream's main track has been deeper this year than in the past and has come under scrutiny from several trainers. Among the horses training at Gulfstream who have suffered injuries are Monarchos, the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner; Forest Heiress, a stakes-winning 3-year-old filly; Trajectory, a stakes-winning older horse; and Silent Fred, who finished third in last November's Remsen.
Trainer Shug McGaughey said he is considering keeping Saarland, the Remsen winner, out of the Fountain of the Youth, because he believes the track is too loose for that horse. After Nokoma finished fourth in the Holy Bull, trainer Todd Pletcher expressed some frustration with the track as well.
Track officials meet with horsemen every Monday, and they say they have not heard any complaints from the trainers who attend those meetings.
"They're tickled pink with the track," said Dennis Testa, Gulfstream's director of operations.
Scott Savin, Gulfstream's president and general manager, said: "The track is fantastic. It's the best track we ever had at Gulfstream."
Block said Cashel Castle - who had won his first three starts by a combined 19 1/2 lengths - will be sidelined a week to 10 days.
"Let's put it this way, we dodged a bullet, it could have been a lot worse," Block said. "It looks like a temporary situation. After a week to 10 days of taking it real easy, we'll probably be back to where we can go back into serious training."
With Cashel Castle out of the Hutcheson, the number of definites has been reduced to six: Maybry's Boy, Showmeitall, Axis, Royal Lad, Dr. Greeley and, Handsome Hunk. Hit the Trail is possible.
Cesare found a good vantage point
Trainer Bill Cesare has spent the past two months training his horses in an unconventional manner - from the balcony of the Holiday Inn located just behind the three-eighths pole at Calder Race Course. He finally returned to his barn on Tuesday after serving a 60-day suspension for allegedly threatening a groom with a firearm.
Cesare adamantly denied the charges, but said he accepted the suspension instead of going through the costly process of fighting his ruling.
He will waste little time getting back into serious action when he sends out Cellars Shiraz in Sunday's $100,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
"I was at the Holiday Inn the whole time I was suspended," said Cesare, whose horses ran under the name of assistant Moises Alvarado during his absence. "I didn't miss a morning. Nothing really changed as far as my barn was concerned other than the name on the program. All my owners were great the way they stood by me throughout the entire ordeal."
While Alvarado was trainer of record, Cesare's stable won three races and had 13 of its 20 starters finish in the money during the first four weeks of the Gulfstream meeting.
Cellars Shiraz just missed winning her 3-year-old debut when she finished second to odds-on Kathy K D after contesting all the pace under second-level allowance conditions on the turf.
"She's an improving filly who really seems better on turf than dirt," Cesare said. "I think off her last race she deserves a shot in the Herecomesthebride, which, other than August Storm, figures to come up like a two-other-than."
Cesare has also decided to pass the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth with *, third-place finisher in the Holy Bull Stakes.
"Even though he finished third in the Holy Bull he didn't run as well as he had the previous time," said Cesare. "Maybe I ran him back too quick or the racetrack was too deep. It's hard to tell. I'll probably look for a two-other-than allowance race and if he were to run well I'd consider the Florida Derby."
August Storm's speed may carry better on turf
*, who had her three-race winning streak snapped when she unsuccessfully took on colts in the Dave Feldman Stakes on Jan. 14, worked a half-mile in 49 seconds Wednesday over Gulfstream's turf course in preparation for Sunday's Herecomesthebride.
August Storm won three consecutive turf stakes to end her juvenile campaign, but scratched out of the Tropical Park Oaks on Jan. 2 when that race came off the turf. Feeling she needed a race to make the Herecomesthebride, trainer Linda Rice ran August Storm against the boys in the Dave Feldman. Not only was she taking on colts, but August Storm was running over a course that did not favor her front-running style, while breaking from post 11.
"The turf was not kind to speed, which is her best asset," Rice said. "That hurt us most."
Rice said she was pleased with August Storm's breeze and was happy to see that speed had been doing better on the turf the last couple of days. "The turf is a little more conducive to speed, which is good," said Rice. "She worked well, everything looks good."
The only negative is that Rice has to find a new jockey because Jerry Bailey will be in California to ride Lido Palace in the San Antonio Handicap. Rice said she had not finalized a jockey assignment as of Wednesday.
Tortora, Ziadie optimistic about Hutcheson
Calder-based trainers Manny Tortora and Ralph Ziadie are both expecting big efforts from their 3-year-olds Showmeitall and Royal Lad in Saturday's seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes.
Showmeitall finished second, beaten just over a length by Maybry's Boy, in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes opening day. Royal Lad finished a tiring fourth after contesting all the pace in a race decided over a slow track that did not favor his front-running style.
Showmeitall worked five furlongs Tuesday in 59.20 seconds under jockey Jorge Chavez, who will again have the mount in the Hutcheson.
"He's training great," Tortora said. "I haven't had a horse work like that in some time. And the added distance should be to his advantage since he's already won going two turns and that was back when he didn't rate as kindly as he did in the Spectacular Bid."
Tortora said if Showmeitall ran well in the Hutcheson he might consider the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 16.
Ziadie said Royal Lad should move forward off the Spectacular Bid, in which his chances were compromised not only by a torrid pace duel with Handsome Hunk but also by couple of abscessed teeth that forced him to lug in severely through the stretch.
"We discovered the abscess after the race and had the teeth removed," said Ziadie. "He seems to be handling the bit a lot better now. I'm just hoping Handsome Hunk does not go back in the Hutcheson, which would give our horse a chance to be alone and relax a little on the lead."
Ziadie also said he will stick to his original plan and pass the $500,000 Donn Handicap with Sir Bear despite the recent defections of Lido Palace and Monarchos.
"I'm not even going to nominate him so we won't be tempted to run," said Ziadie. Instead, Ziadie intends to point Sir Bear, who upset Red Bullet to win the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap on Jan. 12, to a race he won last year, the Gulfstream Park Handicap, on March 30.
Outofthebox resumes training
After being sidelined for a month with a wrenched ankle, Grade 1 winner Outofthebox resumed training Tuesday morning, jogging once around Gulfstream's main track. Trainer Steve Flint said he is hopeful Outofthebox could make the Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 30, but would not beat him up to get there.
"In a perfect world, he jogs for a couple of weeks then resumes regular training," Flint said. "``If I didn't lose any works, he could make the Gulfstream Park Handicap. If I lose a work, he'll run at Keeneland."
Flint said he would really like to run Outofthebox this summer in the series of handicap stakes in New York at Belmont and Saratoga. Outofthebox won an allowance race at Saratoga last summer en route to victory in the Grade 1 Super Derby.
* Harlan's Holiday, the runner-up in the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 19, breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds Wednesday morning, as he continues preparations for the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 16. "I wanted to get a little blow in him, he's been doing great since he ran. We don't want him cranked and speedy; we want to keep him relaxed," trainer Ken McPeek said, who planned two more breezes for Harlan's Holiday before the race.
- additional reporting by Mike Welsch
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