12/03/2011 4:06PM

Gulfstream: Duke of Mischief may return in Ft. Lauderdale or Sunshine Millions Classic

Barbara D. Livingston
Duke of Mischief is likely to make his 2012 debut in mid-to-late January at Gulfstream Park.

Duke of Mischief, idle since finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, worked an easy half-mile in 49.80 seconds at Calder on Saturday as he continues to tune up for his return, which may not come until the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 26.

“I’ll probably wait for the Sunshine stakes,” said trainer David Fawkes. “Unless he gets fit faster, in which case we might try the Ft. Lauderdale,” a Grade 3 turf race on Jan. 14. “He pulled a muscle in his back in the Whitney so I just gave him a break on Harold Queen’s farm in Ocala. This morning, he went off easy and finished nice. It was just his second work since he’s been back. I was real happy with him.”

Fawkes said he has two major goals with Duke of Mischief in 2012 – to successfully defend his title in the $1 million Charles Town Classic and win a Grade 1 race.  

Fawkes also said he had hoped to run the Grade 1-placed Apriority in Sunday’s $60,000 Sunshine Stake Stakes for Florida-breds but had to alter his plans when Apriority grabbed a quarter. 

“I’ll breeze him this weekend and we’ll just wait for the Mr. Prospector,” he said.

The Grade 3 Mr. Prospector will be run on Dec. 31. The Fawkes-trained Big Drama set a six-furlong track record winning the Mr. Prospector the first time it was run this year, on Jan. 15. 

Maiden breaks track record

Discreet Dancer, a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Travelin Man, set a 5 1/2- furlong course record of 1:02.34 winning his career debut in Saturday’s third race. The old mark of 1:03  was set by Paizano in January 2010. Discreet Dancer is trained by Todd Pletcher for the E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC.

◗ Trainer Jane Cibelli, who is keeping a string in south Florida for the first time, wasted little time making her presence felt when she sent out Playing a Joke to win Saturday’s second race. Cibelli won the 2011 Monmouth Park training title.

◗ Antonio Sano edged out Steve Dwoskin and Nick Canani to capture the 2011 Tropical at Calder training championship, adding the award to the title he won at the regular Calder meet earlier in the year. Sano completed the session with 18 winners, two more than Dwoskin and Canani. 

◗ Luis Saez was easily best among the jockeys during the Tropical meet, posting 66 victories to outdistance runner-up Daniel Centeno, whose 29 tallies were good enough to finish second, two in front of Fernando Jara and Orlando Bocachica. Frank Calabrese finished the meet as leading owner with 19 wins.