01/21/2011 1:22PM

Great Attack seeks third straight win in Gulfstream Turf Sprint


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. − Trainer Wesley Ward is hoping to get an invitation to the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup day for his turf sprint specialist Great Attack. Sunday’s $60,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint could be a means to that end.

Great Attack and Stradivinsky are the two major players among a field of seven entered in the Turf Sprint, a five-furlong race, but only six are expected to start.

Great Attack has won his last two starts after finishing sixth in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Woodford on Oct. 9. He returned 18 days after the Woodford and rallied from near the rear of the field to score a 1 1/4-length win in a second-level allowance dash over the Keeneland turf. He then led throughout over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs to win an open allowance race by a length in his 3-year-old finale, earning a career-best 97 Beyer.

Great Attack has trained extremely well over the local course in preparation for the Turf Sprint, posting a pair of bullet half-mile works one week apart earlier this month.

“We’re ready,” said Ward, who trains Great Attack for Houyhnhnm Stable. “I really would like to take this horse to Dubai because there are so few spots around for turf sprinters, and hopefully, he’ll win this one and earn an invitation.”

Even though Great Attack has shown the ability to rally from off the pace, Ward said he expects Great Attack to be right with the leaders Sunday.

“Coming from off the pace to win that race in Kentucky was more a factor of Garrett’s riding style than anything else,” Ward said, referring to jockey Garrett Gomez. “He’s fast, and it’s five furlongs, so I think he’s going to go.”

Ward said he planned to scratch Strike the Tiger, winner of Ascot’s Windsor Castle Stakes at 2, because he drew the inside post.

Stradivinsky won Belmont’s Grade 3 Jaipur just seven weeks after being claimed by his present connections for $50,000 last spring at Churchill Downs, but he has not started since finishing 13th after forcing the early pace in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He worked a strong five furlongs in 59.40 seconds over the local turf course on Jan. 9 but was not as sharp when he breezed the same distance on the main track six days later.

Ahvee’s Destiny, an allowance winner here last April, will take on the boys once again for trainer Linda Rice. Also expected to run are Yankee Injunuity, Carte Blanche, and Retire to What.