11/05/2015 12:13PM

East Hall looks to defend Classic Preview title

Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
East Hall, winner of the Sensitive Prince, will start Saturday in the Class Preview on Sunshine Millions Preview Day at Gulfstream Park West.

East Hall won the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview as a 3-year-old last year. He has an excellent chance to defend his title Saturday in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that headlines this year’s edition of Sunshine Millions Preview Day at Gulfstream Park West.

The Classic Preview attracted seven horses and goes as race 5 on a card featuring eight $100,000 Florida-bred stakes that may be used as final preps for races on Sunshine Millions Day at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 16.

Post time for the first race is 12:35 p.m. Eastern. The first stakes on the 10-race card is the 1 1/16-mile Turf Preview, which goes as race 2.

East Hall is trained by Bill Kaplan, who also has a chance to win the Distaff with Moment of Delight. The horse she will have to catch and beat in the seven-furlong dash that drew nine fillies and mares is Flutterby.

“It could be a great day or not,” said Kaplan. “I like the way both are coming up to their races.”

Last year, East Hall followed up his win in the Classic Preview with a runner-up finish behind Sr. Quisqueyano in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic. After that, the son of Graeme Hall didn’t finish in the top three again until he won the $75,000 Sensitive Prince on a sloppy track Sept. 12 at Gulfstream in his most recent start.

Kaplan is looking forward to running him Saturday.

“Every race is different, but he should run well,” said Kaplan. “He certainly looks good right now.”

East Hall drew post 4. Tyler Gaffalione, who rode East Hall for the first time in the Sensitive Prince, retains the mount.

The 3-year-old Saraguaro jumped up and ran the race of his life to win the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure at Gulfstream on Oct. 3.

Trained by S.A. Joseph, he earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure for his two-length win over Sing Praises in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. His previous best Beyer was a 78 for his runner-up finish in a maiden special weight last February.

:: Gulfstream Park West: Buy PPs, watch Saturday’s card live

Classic Preview (race 5)

Key contenders

East Hall (Last 3 Beyers: 90-75-66)

He tailed off after he finished second in the Sunshine Millions last year, but he could be sitting on a big effort following a confidence-boosting win in the Sensitive Prince.

Saraguaro (Last 3 Beyers: 90-77-29)

Not sure where his last race came from, but a similar effort puts him right there.

City of Weston (Last 3 Beyers: 88-82-80)

The Grade 3-winning sprinter has tried a middle distance only once, early in his career.

The Peter Walder-trained 5-year-old has won going seven furlongs, so this might be within his reach if he breaks alertly from his inside post.

DRF formulator fact: Over the past five years, Walder has a 20 percent strike rate with horses going from a sprint to a route.

Distaff Preview (race 6)

Key contenders

Flutterby (Last 3 Beyers: 88-90-94)

Following a runner-up finish July 5 in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney at Gulfstream, she took them all the way in back-to-back $75,000 sprint stakes Aug. 22 in the Gold Mover and Sept. 27 in the Added Elegance.

Trained by Jerry Bozzo, she is the speed of the speed and will be difficult to catch if she breaks on top with usual rider Luca Panici aboard.

Moment of Delight (Last 3 Beyers: 88-0-54)

This 3-year-old filly is coming off a 6 1/4-length romp going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 3 in the $150,000 Meadow Star at Gulfstream. Kaplan said she won’t mind the cutback in distance.

“She can handle sprinting, and she has enough speed to be in the race early,” he said.

Prior to her impressive performance in the Meadow Star, her last win came going six furlongs in a $16,000 optional-claiming race June 16 at Gulfstream.

My Sweet Dove (Last 3 Beyers: 89-80-66)

This 4-year-old daughter of Hello Broadway was an easy winner on the Gulfstream main track in a $62,500 optional-claiming race Sept. 3 and just missed to Katie’s Kiss in an unrestricted allowance going five furlongs on turf Oct. 10 at Gulfstream Park West in her latest start.

* Trained by Marty Wolfson, My Sweet Dove certainly is trending in the right direction, has good speed, and should get first crack at Flutterby if she breaks alertly from the inside post.

DRF Formulator fact: Over the past five years, Wolfson has a 20 percent strike rate with horses moving from turf to dirt.