11/30/2012 3:11PM

Gulfstream Park: Little Distorted sold privately to Silverton Farm


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. − Little Distorted, who turned heads when he earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in his debut victory at Belmont Park, has been purchased privately by Silverton Farm, his former trainer, Michael Mareina, confirmed Friday.

A 2-year-old son of Distorted Humor, Little Distorted made his debut Oct. 28 and easily defeated Revolutionary, a highly regarded Todd Pletcher-trained horse who was the 1-5 favorite. Little Distorted led throughout, shaking off a couple of challenges before pulling clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He went six furlongs in 1:09.72.

Little Distorted was owned by Kuehne Racing, which also sold Game On Dude shortly after his maiden win at Gulfstream Park with Mareina during the winter of 2010.

Little Distorted will eventually be turned over to trainer Darrin Miller but remains under Mareina’s care for now.

“I guess Darrin has some sick horses back in Kentucky and hasn’t come down yet, so they’ll keep Little Distorted with me until he gets squared away,” Mareina said. “It’s kind of a weird situation. They just told me to go on and train him like I’ve been training him, not to take him out of his regular routine. I’ve already worked him once since the sale, and he’ll probably work again on Sunday, and to tell the truth I was really nervous the first time just because he’s not my horse anymore.”

Mareina said he knew Little Distorted had enormous potential for some time. In Little Distorted’s final work before his debut, Mareina put him in company with Little Drama, a stakes-placed horse, and Little Distorted more than held his own.

“I figured they both needed a sharp work, so I broke Little Distorted off four or five lengths in front, and Little Drama could not make up any ground on him down the stretch,” Mareina said. “I really thought he was a work or two away from his best race when we ran him the first time. He got hooked early, put that horse away, then had Pletcher’s horse right on his butt waiting to make his run, but just drew away from him easily. That was really impressive.”

Mareina also believes distance will be no problem for Little Distorted down the road.

“He’s out of an A.P. Indy mare, and he’s real easy on himself,” he said. “You don’t have to go fast early with him. He can rate. When we worked him a half-mile the other morning, he went his opening quarter in 24 and change and his final quarter in 23 and change.”

As for losing another potential star, Mareina took it all in stride.

“That’s the life of a trainer,” he said. “I bought him at the sales just like I did Game On Dude. The owner is into selling horses, and he’s been making money, so everybody is happy.”

Sacristy works toward Sugar Swirl

The first graded stakes of the meet, the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl at six furlongs, will be run next Saturday, and 19 fillies and mares have been nominated. Among the group is the Wayne Catalano-trained Sacristy, winner of the Grade 3 Old Hat here earlier this year, who is coming off a second-place performance in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Raven Run.

Sacristy tuned up for the Sugar Swirl with an easy five-furlong work in 1:00.78 over a very fast track here Friday, galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.39.

Dust and Diamonds, runner-up to Groupie Doll in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and subsequently purchased by Stud TNT at the Fasig Tipton November Sale, is likely to cap her 2012 campaign in the Sugar Swirl, new trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Friday.

Ex-racehorses compete in shows

Gulfstream Park and the Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Program will hold their inaugural Holiday Thoroughbred Festival horse show at the Plantation Equestrian Center next Saturday.

Retired Thoroughbreds will compete in several classes of Pleasure, Hunter, and Jumper divisions. The Holiday Festival is part of the Gulfstream Thoroughbred Challenge, an ongoing, seasonlong series for retired Thoroughbreds to be held during selected shows at the Plantation Equestrian Center.

Approximately 50 retired Thoroughbreds are expected to compete in the show, including Storm In May, who ran in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and earned more than $500,000 during his racing career.

The Gulfstream Park Aftercare Program, founded in 2011 by Frank Stronach, works with several retirement organizations including the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care Program to ensure retired Thoroughreds are matched with owners who will make a lifelong commitment to their health, safety and well being.

“The Stronach Group has a long history of retraining, rehabilitating, and caring for retired Thoroughbreds, so we’re delighted to be able to showcase our retired equine athletes in the Holiday Festival,” Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo said.