03/20/2013 3:27PM

Gulfstream Park: Nafzger resists Kentucky Derby fever with Looking Cool


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Carl Nafzger has already won two Kentucky Derbies, with Unbridled and Street Sense, but at the moment he’s in no hurry to try for a third with his latest 3-year-old prospect Looking Cool.

Looking Cool qualified for a possible shot at a Derby prep after rallying to defeat the odds-on River Rocks by a half-length under entry-level allowance conditions going 1 1/16 miles here at Gulfstream Park last Sunday. The win was the second in the last three starts for Looking Cool, who earned a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure for his effort.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

“The race before this, he got his tongue over the bit after his tongue tie fell off in the post parade and had a horrible trip. He didn’t even run into the first turn,” said Nafzger, referring to Looking Cool’s sixth-place finish behind Orb on Jan. 26. “That race put us way behind schedule. If he had run well there, we’d have come back in the Fountain of Youth.”

Nafzger said he will talk things over with owner Jim Tafel before making any future plans for Looking Cool.

“He showed his talent winning this race, but right now I’m not going to worry about points,” Nafzger said. “He won’t run until he tells us he’s ready to go. It’s a long year. They’ve got a race in August called the Travers, and I’m pretty sure you don’t need any points to run in that.”

Pick of the Litter sharpens for Florida Derby

Pick of the Litter all but punched his ticket into the starting gate for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30 after working five furlongs in 59.29 seconds here Wednesday.

Pick of the Litter broke off at the half-mile pole and posted splits of 24.01 and 47.03 seconds to the wire before completing the work at the mile pole on the clubhouse turn and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.12.

Pick of the Litter, a son of Kitten’s Joy, drew off to an easy 7 1/2-length maiden win going 1 1/8 miles in a race switched from the turf to the main track Feb. 27. He is one of six horses currently eyeing the Grade 1 Florida Derby along with Shanghai Bobby, Itsmyluckyday, Orb, Frac Daddy, and Merit Man.

Newsdad draws outside in Pan American

Newsdad will attempt to defend his title in the Grade 2 Pan American against nine rivals in the 1 1/2-mile turf feature here Saturday. Newsdad will break from the extreme outside under regular rider Jose Lezcano, who is expected to ride for the first time since being injured in a spill two weeks ago.

The remainder of the field, in post position order, consists of Total Reward, Teaks North, Ioya Bigtime, Mucho Mas Macho, Belo Acteon, Ducduc, Gossip Column, Empire Builder, and Twilight Eclipse, who will carry high weight of 123 pounds.

92-year-old trainer gets rare win

Jerry Bozzo may have become the oldest trainer ever to win a race at Gulfstream Park after sending out As de Copas to upset Wednesday’s fifth race. Bozzo, 92, is a World War II veteran who said he has no plans of retiring any time soon.

“I plan to die with my boots on,” said Bozzo who posted his first victory of the year and second over the last two seasons.

◗ Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith will be in town for a few days in advance of his trip to Dubai, where he will ride Royal Delta next weekend in the $10 million World Cup. Smith is named to ride three horses during his brief stay, Warm Hugs in Friday’s allowance feature for trainer Bill Mott, and both Skyfall for Todd Pletcher and the Mott-trained Secret Jewel on Saturday.

◗ Carried Interest, among the top 2-year-old prospects on the East Coast last fall before being forced to the sidelines by chronic shin problems, will make his second start at 3 and figures to be heavily favored in Saturday’s fifth race. Carried Interest was upset as the 1-2 favorite when beaten a half-length by City of Weston after contesting an extremely fast pace while making his 3-year-old bow here Feb. 24 for trainer Rick Violette.