03/18/2011 2:45PM

Florida Derby possible for Hutcheson winner

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Barbara D. Livingston
Flashpoint, Cornelio Velasquez up, wis the Hutcheson.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. –Uncle Mo isn’t the only undefeated 3-year-old whose status for the $1 million Florida Derby still remains up in the air but whose presence would have a major impact on the race. The other is the speedy Flashpoint, sensational winner of the seven-furlong Hutcheson at Gulfstream last month and the one to catch if his connections opt to stretch him to 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Flashpoint, who by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.’s accounts is not a very special work horse, looked very good breezing five furlongs here Friday in 59.87 seconds before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.57 shortly after the first renovation break.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Flashpoint is currently undefeated and untested after two starts, winning his 2-year-old debut by better than six lengths at Aqueduct before launching his 3-year-old campaign with an even more impressive seven-length decision over the highly regarded and previously undefeated Travelin’ Man in the Hutcheson. Flashpoint, a son of Pomeroy, ran seven furlongs that day in 1:22, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure of 102 in the process.

Dutrow remains uncommitted regarding Flashpoint’s next start, although it is expected to come here on Apr. 3 either in the seven-furlong Swale or the one mile and one eighth Florida Derby.

“Most likely we’ll go in the Swale with the Florida Derby the backup plan at the moment,” said Dutrow.

Dutrow also said trying to make the Kentucky Derby is still not out of the question, even though at this point, Flashpoint has yet to run beyond seven furlongs.

“We never thought he’d run as well as he has in the afternoon either time from what we’ve seen in the mornings,” said Dutrow. “He’s just not a big work horse on his own, but if you put him in company, the whole game changes. But there’s no need to do that. He knows what to do when he goes out there in the afternoon.”

Romans regrouping

Trainer Dale Romans is still scratching his head over Black N Beauty’s performance in the Hutcheson when he was pulled up by jockey Kent Desormeaux before completing five furlongs. Black N Beauty had shown much promise before that start, winning a pair of allowance races before finishing fifth behind Dialed In after setting a fast and contentious pace in the Grade 3 Holy Bull.

Black N Beauty worked for the second time since the Hutcheson here Friday, going seven furlongs from the half-mile pole past the finish line around to the mile pole in 1:02.40 while going easily throughout. He then continued strongly around the clubhouse turn, galloping out six furlongs in a sharp 1:14.98.

“He’s been sound ever since the Hutcheson, I really don’t know what happened that day,” said Romans. “I’m just throwing a line through that race and moving on.”

Losing a race like that during the middle of the winter with a possible Derby contender is a huge setback, and Romans remains undecided what will be next for Black N Beauty.

Romans daid he woule talk to owner Ahmed Zayat Friday evening “and discuss our options.” Romans did not rule out one of the remaining Kentucky Derby preps as a possibility for Black N Beauty’s next start.

Romans also said that Paddy O Prado, who finished third in the 2010 Derby, is about ready to start galloping over the local strip. Paddy O Prado, who has not started since the Breeders’ Cup Classic, joined Romans local stable one month ago after being given some time on the farm following his fifth-place finish in the Classic.

Bridgetown wires solid field

Bridgetown, who finished fourth in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, served notice he could be a major player in the 2011 renewal after posting his second victory in as many starts this winter in Friday’s featured fourth race. Bridgetown, who was transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher’s stable following the Breeders’ Cup, led throughout to beat a deep field of allowance horses on Friday after opening the year with a game neck decision in Tampa Bay Downs’ Turf Dash.

Pletcher said Bridgetown will now be pointed for the $100,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Derby day.

Twilight time for three Fridays

Post time on each of the last three Friday programs of the meet, April 8, 15 and 22, will be moved back to 3 p.m. management announced this week.

“We’re looking forward to the twilight race programs,” said Gulfstream’s vice president of racing, Tim Ritvo. He said that with The Village at Gulfstream Park shopping and entertainment complex completed, “We look forward to promoting the Village and our world-class races on these Friday afternoons and evenings.”

◗ A charity golf tournament benefitting both injured jockey Eibar Coa and the newly created Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Racing After Care program will be held at Woodmont Golf Course on Tuesday, March 29. Donations will be $150 per player. Reservations and sponsorship information is available from Susan Stofsky at 954-457-6672.