03/27/2014 2:04PM

Gulfstream Park: Devil's Cave will be let loose in Rampart

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Marty Wolfson says he is confident Devil's Cave can handle the 1 1/8 miles of Saturday's Rampart.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Devil’s Cave’s lone loss in her last three starts came when she was second in the Sunshine Millions Distaff, her only start at 1 1/8 miles.

Marty Wolfson, the trainer of Devil’s Cave, doesn’t believe the distance had anything to do with the defeat.

Though jockey Joel Rosario got her to go six furlongs in a relatively easy 1:14.39, Wolfson said Devil’s Cave is better when she’s allowed to run immediately from the start.

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“She can go 1:12,” Wolfson said. “He just strangled her, gave [Sweet N Discreet] a chance to go by her quick and then she re-rallied. She doesn’t like to be strangled.”

Saturday, Devil’s Cave will again try 1 1/8 miles when she starts as the probable favorite in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Wolfson will be happy if jockey Javier Castellano lets Devil’s Cave roll on the front end like he did with she won the Grade 2 Sabin here on Feb. 16, setting a track record of 1:41.00 for 1 1/16 miles. On a track favoring speed, Devil’s Cave will be the one to catch in the Rampart, which drew a field of eight.

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Asked if he was concerned about possible early pace pressure, Wolfson said: “They can try. It hurts any other horse that tries to run with her. Of course, it hurts me a little bit. She’s used to going 46 [seconds] or 46 and change.”

Wolfson will also start Gamay Noir, whose only win on dirt came over a wet track. She is coming out of a fourth-place finish in the Wayward Lass at Tampa Bay Downs two weeks ago.

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“She should have been second at Tampa,” Wolfson said. “She got in a lot of trouble. That’s why I want to run her back. I think she’ll like the distance.”

At this time last year, Unlimited Budget was among the leading 3-year-old fillies in the country, having won her first four starts, including the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. After a third in the Kentucky Oaks, Unlimited Budget finished sixth in the Belmont Stakes and last in the Coaching Club American Oaks.

She was given the remainder of 2013 off and returned with a fourth-place finish in a five-horse allowance here March 8.

“You got to watch the head-on of the race to understand the start, but she took a pretty hard left out of there,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “And it was sort of an oddly run race with a speed horse opening up a huge margin on the rest of the field. The way Gulfstream’s been playing most of the meet you can’t get that far back. She had to chase and chase and chase, it’s hard to chase and chase and chase off a layoff. It’s probably not as bad as it seemed.”

Breaking from post 8 under John Velazquez, Unlimited Budget figures to be put into the race early.

Pletcher also entered Private Ensign, who won a second-level allowance Jan. 15 but finished last in the Grade 2 Sabin.

“She got herself a bit worked up in the paddock and behind the gate,” Pletcher said. “Johnny rode her that day and he thought she left everything out there in the post parade.”

Rosario is named to ride Private Ensign on Saturday.