02/22/2013 3:28PM

Gulfstream Park: Carried Interest launches 3-year-old campaign in allowance sprint

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After defeating Palace Malice in his career debut and finishing second behind Overanalyze in the Grade 2 Futurity last fall at Belmont Park, Carried Interest was considered among the major players in the division heading into the real meat of the 2-year-old season. But after nagging shins kept Carried Interest from participating in either the Nashua or Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, trainer Rick Violette decided to back off of his promising youngster, giving him plenty of time to recuperate in preparation for his 3-year-old campaign.

Carried Interest finally returns to action in Sunday’s third race at Gulfstream Park, when he goes six furlongs against entry-level allowance competition. And Violette is anxious to get him started again.

“He had a chronic shin, and we were fighting to try to patch it up and get him to the bigger dances last year,” Violette said. “It just didn’t work out, so we just decided to pull the plug, let him heel, and start back with him again this winter.”

Carried Interest has been working steadily for his 3-year-old bow at the Palm Meadows training center, where he has registered six works dating back to Jan. 18, including a pair of five-eighth breezes in 1:00.40 earlier this month.

“He’s been great, done everything we asked of him, and his last two works were very, very good,” Violette said. “He’s certainly fit enough to get started again, tight enough to win, but I haven’t squeezed the lemon real tight. He won’t run his career best the first time back.”

Violette knows there is a lot of speed in Sunday’s lineup, and he’s hopeful Carried Interest doesn’t get hooked in an early duel as he did in each of his two starts at 2.

“He’s a very game horse and has already shown he can take the heat and keep running,” Violette said. “He got hooked between two other speed horses in the Futurity and shook them off before getting beat by Overanalyze. He’s a very tractable horse, and if other speed shows up on Sunday, he’ll be very comfortable tapping on the brakes and stalking.”

Violette said he would ultimately like to stretch out Carried Interest a distance of ground if he were to perform well Sunday.

“He’s out of a Quiet American mare, so at least he has a shot to get a little distance, and he’s also got the right mind-set to go a little further,” Violette said. “Hopefully, this race will move him forward and then we can go on from there.”

Carried Interest will face a field that includes Defend, an impressive winner against cheaper optional claiming opposition earlier this month; Cat Five Hurricane, third behind Park City and Declans Warrior after setting the pace through late stretch going 6 1/2 furlongs on Feb. 9; the improving City of Weston, Pro Prospect, and Almost English.

River Rocks looks good winning allowance

River Rocks, purchased privately after winning his maiden in his 2-year-old finale last fall at Calder, made an impressive 3-year-old debut when leading throughout before drawing away to a 5 1/2-length entry-level allowance victory going seven furlongs Thursday. River Rocks, a son of Western Pride, shaded 1:22 over the very fast main track and earned an 83 Beyer Speed Figure.

River Rocks is currently under the tutelage of Wayne Catalano, who was impressed by his new acquisition’s performance off the bench.

“I always thought he could run from the time I first got him, and it was a perfect comeback because we didn’t want him to do too much too soon,” said Catalano, referring to the fact that River Rocks received a Beyer two points lower than what he got for his maiden win four months earlier. “I’ll get together over the next few days with the owners and discuss our options. Hopefully, he’ll be good enough to run in the bigger races. We’ll probably look to stretch him out next time and take a chance with one of the Derby preps.”

Memorial service for Abbey

Hialeah Park will hold a memorial service Monday for long-time racing official Sam Abbey, who died in an automobile accident Tuesday night. The service will be held in the third floor of the turf club and begins at 11 a.m.

Abbey, who has been the director of racing at Hialeah since the track re-opened for Quarter Horse Racing in 2009, is survived by his wife Cheryl, his mother Hazel, sons Justin and Jason, daughter Jennifer, and eight grandchildren.