01/13/2012 3:02PM

Gulfstream: Great Attack primed for return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Great Attack has not won a race in 14 months, but he’s still likely to be the favorite when he launches his 2012 campaign in Sunday’s $60,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.

Great Attack will be making his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint 10 weeks ago. Great Attack was beaten less than three lengths by Regally Ready in the Breeders’ Cup despite bobbling briefly and losing some momentum going into the far turn. He recovered to slip along the hedge to get within a length of the winner at the eighth pole before tiring near the end.

“He got in a little trouble in the Breeders’ Cup, but I don’t think he could have beaten the winner,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who also has Madman Diaries entered in the GP Turf Sprint. “He ran about as good as he can. He tried hard as he always does.”

Great Attack’s last victory came over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in November of 2010. His last win on grass came four weeks earlier under allowance conditions at Keeneland. Great Attack finished second following an unlucky start behind Stradivinsky in the 2011 GP Turf Sprint.

“He had a really good freshening after the Breeders’ Cup, and I’ve tightened the screws a little in the last couple of works,” said Ward. “He should be ready to go.”

Madman Diaries gives Ward a strong one-two punch if he runs. Madman Diaries has also gone winless for an extended period, his last victory coming in Monmouth Park’s Grade 3 Sapling in September of 2010. He returned from an eight-month layoff to finish second behind Little Nick following a near-race long pace duel at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 21.

“He was fantastic as a 2-year-old but was a disappointment here when I took the blinkers off for the Hutcheson and then again up at Woodbine, so I just turned him out hoping it was a mental thing,” said Ward. “I tried to find an easy spot to bring him back and he hooked a horse who might be the favorite in this race on Sunday” – Little Nick – “but he turned in a gallant effort even though he got beat.”

Little Nick had been away seven months since capturing Calder’s Champali Stakes on May 14 when he returned to outgame Madman Diaries under allowance conditions going five furlongs at Tampa in his 2011 finale. The veteran turf specialist, who turned 7 on New Year’s Day, finished a strong second behind Bridgetown in his only try over the local course last winter.

“Little Nick is very tough, but he drew the rail, so this is my race to lose from a jockey standpoint,” said Ward.

The remainder of the Turf Sprint field includes Wekiva Wachee, Marquet Cat, Private Jet, and McCarty.

Marquet Cat turned back to five furlongs for the first time in his career to dominate $50,000 claimers over the local turf on Dec. 15.

Private Jet, who makes his U.S. debut on Sunday, was a Group 1 turf sprint winner in South Africa during the spring of 2009.

Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S., Post Time: 4:33 CT Friday

Purse: $60,000; 5 furlongs (T)





ML Odds


Little Nick

A. Quartarolo

P. Lopez



Wekiva Wachee

M. Dini

J. Castanon



Marquet Cat

J. Servis

J. Lezcano



Madman Diaries

W. Ward

E. Trujillo



Private Jet (ARG)

J. Velazquez

K. McLaughlin



Great Attack

W. Ward

J. Sanchez




S. Lake

J. Rocco, Jr.



Black Diamond Cat (MTO)

L. Bates

J. Leyva