12/30/2011 1:31PM

Gulfstream Park Derby key test to tell whether Ancient Rome can go long

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Adam Coglianese
Ancient Rome, narrow winner of the Spectacular Bid, is among 11 entered for Sunday's inaugural Gulfstream Park Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Local horsemen have been clamoring for a chance to run their top 3-year-olds 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park for the past seven years. That opportunity finally arrived this winter, with the first major test scheduled at the distance to come on Sunday, New Years’ Day, with the inaugural running of the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby.

A field of 11 3-year-olds have been entered for the Gulfstream Park Derby, a race which for some may serve as a prep for the first graded stakes for the division here this winter, the one-mile Holy Bull, on Jan. 29. The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth will also be run at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 26.

Ancient Rome will likely be favored to add the Gulfstream Park Derby to his victory here opening day in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid. Ancient Rome, a son of Roman Ruler, forced the pace from the outset in the Spectacular Bid, then had to reassert himself after being headed by For Oby in deep stretch to register a hard-fought nose decision.

“I’m very, very happy with this horse at the moment,” said Anthony Dutrow, who trains Ancient Rome for owner Michael Dubb. “He’s trained as well for this race as he did for the Spectacular Bid. I just don’t know about the distance. I don’t even have a guess. He’s in there to see if he will or if he won’t handle it. I want to find out now. That way I can go on with his career and get him fixed up as either a long horse or a short horse.”

Ancient Rome drew post 7 for the Gulfstream Park Derby.

“I’m not really concerned about the post,” said Dutrow when asked if the short run to the first turn would be an issue. “He’s got speed away from there. It really doesn’t worry me at all.”

Ancient Rome is one of five multiple winners in the lineup. The others are Reveron, Silver Menace, Ravelo’s Boy, and Yourhonorandglory. The remainder of the field includes the unbeaten King Kid, Gold Megillah, Nachas and Joy, Casual Trick, and Rex’s Last Tour.

Reveron is a steadily improving son of Songandaprayer who has won each of his last two starts going seven furlongs at Calder in impressive fashion.

Silver Menace, undefeated in two outings at 2, was recently purchased privately by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, the same connections who own Mucho Macho Man. Silver Menace already has experience at the distance, having led throughout to win a first-level allowance race over a sloppy track at Hawthorne in his juvenile finale.

“I’ve only had him for five days,” said Kathy Ritvo, who trains for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. “We’re just hoping for the best.”

Ravelo’s Boy won the second 1 1/16-mile race decided at this meet, rallying from last to upset first-level optional $75,000 claiming company on opening day.

Yourhonorandglory posted a pair of victories around two turns at 2, both wins coming at Parx.

King Kid, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, finished strong to win his debut at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs and has trained in a manner which suggests he will handle the added distance in his 3-year-old and two-turn debut.

Gold Megillah came off the grass to post an 18 1/2- length maiden win going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs to close out his 2-year-old campaign on Nov. 16.

Casual Trick also won his maiden at Churchill, surviving an early speed duel to register a 2 1/2-length decision when stretching to a mile on Nov. 18.

Gulfstream Park Derby, Post Time: 4:45 ET Sunday

Purse: $100,000; 1 1/16 miles

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

King Kid

D. Romans

C. Lanerie

12-1

1

Reveron

A. Bezara

F. Jara

4-1

1

Gold Megillah

H. Motion

E. Prado

8-1

1

Nachas and Joy

J. DiVito

R. Maragh

12-1

1

Casual Trick

N. Zito

J. Velasquez

6-1

1

Silver Menace

K. Ritvo

J. Castellano

6-1

1

Ancient Rome

A. Dutrow

J. Rocco, Jr.

3-1

1

Politicallycorrect

W. Ward

E. Trujillo

8-1

1

Ravelo's Boy

M. Azpurua

J. Sanchez

15-1

1

Rex's Last Tour

B. Rose

D. Centeno

30-1

1

Yourhonorandglory

J. Servis

K. Carmouche

10-1