12/19/2012 5:37PM

Gulfstream Park: Citrus Kid beats El Padrino in battle of comebackers

Bob Coglianese
Citrus Kid wins an allowance race at Gulfstream, beating El Padrino, who last raced in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

Citrus Kid returned from a 15-month layoff to upset the 1-5 El Padrino in Wednesday’s $60,500 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park. 

Citrus Kid, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, had not started since finishing second in Parx’s President’s Cup in September 2011. Trainer John Terranova had entered and scratched Citrus Kid twice prior to Wednesday’s return, in both the Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder on Dec. 30 and here Saturday in the Harlan’s Holiday.

Citrus Kid, with Joe Rocco Jr. aboard, set a pressured pace then withstood El Padrino, who was returning from a lengthy layoff of his own, to register a 1 1/4-length decision for his fifth career win and first since April 2011.

“He had a soft tissue injury coming out of the race at Parx, which was run over a very soft turf course,” said Terranova, who watched the race from his home in New York. “Fortunately I have some great owners with this horse and they let me do everything right by him to make sure he came back okay. We gave him more time than he probably needed, then started shopping for a spot to get him started. I scratched from the race at Calder because I didn’t like the condition of the turf course and the Harlan’s Holiday since the race looked like it came up a little salty.”

Terranova said that even though Citrus Kid has done the bulk of his racing on grass, he has run and trained extremely well on dirt.

“We were looking for the same thing out of our horse today as they were with El Padrino, getting a good run into him off the layoff,” he said. “My horse really wants to go a lot further. We’ll sit back now, see how he trains, and look out our options, which include races on turf or dirt.”

El Padrino ran well in defeat after being shuffled back down the backstretch and hung four wide rallying into the stretch while making his first start since the Kentucky Derby.

Overflow field for El Prado

Saturday’s $75,000 El Prado, carded at a mile on the turf,  proved a popular item among local trainers, with the race drawing 16 horses, including a pair of also-eligibles.

Among those in the body of the field are the multiple Grade 1 winner Teaks North, who was supplemented to the El Prado by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., the multiple Grade 3 winner Tune Me In, the Grade 1-placed Hollinger, and Claiming Crown Emerald winner Nikki’s Sandcastle.