01/23/2013 5:50PM

Gulfstream Park: Flying Bird has throat surgery after dull effort in Kitten's Joy

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Trainer Nick Zito reported that his promising 3-year-old turf prospect Flying Bird underwent minor throat surgery Wednesday after flipping his palate during the running of Sunday’s Kitten’s Joy Stakes.

Flying Bird, a son of Street Bird owned by Marylou Whitney, showed little in the Kitten’s Joy, finishing a distant eighth behind the odds-on favorite Charming Kitten. Flying Bird had won each of his two previous starts, both on grass, to close his 2-year-old campaign.

“At least we know why he ran so poorly in the stakes,” said Zito, who added the surgery will likely keep him out of training for several weeks.

High-quality Saturday card

Saturday’s 11-race program is far and away the best of the year. Along with the Grade 3 Holy Bull, it features the Grade 2 Forward Gal, a pair of entry-level allowance races for 3-year-olds carded at 1 1/8 miles, and a second-level optional $62,500 claiming race carded at 1 1/16 miles that drew a field of eight, including 2012 Travers winner Golden Ticket.

Only six 3-year-old fillies will contest the seven-furlong Forward Gal, a field led by Kauai Katie, winner of the Old Hat here earlier in the meet, and Grade 3 winner My Happy Face, who dropped a tough head decision to Dreaming of Julia in the Grade 1 Frizette last fall at Belmont.