02/08/2013 3:27PM

Gulfstream Park: Pianist could return in Honey Fox


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Pianist defeated a stakes-quality field under allowance conditions when she captured the main event over the turf on Thursday. Pianist, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready trained by Chad Brown, rated off the early pace of Baffle Me before wearing that rival down en route to a 1 3/4-length victory, the fourth win on the card for jockey Javier Castellano.

“I was happy to see her rate the way she did today,” said Brown. “We were looking to get firm ground and I thought she’d fit here at Gulfstream going a mile on the firm ground. All her wins have been at a mile; I think it’s the best distance for her. If she comes out of the race okay, I’ll take a look at the Honey Fox.”

The Grade 3 Honey Fox will be decided at a mile on March 16.

Brown also said that Normandy Invasion, beaten a nose by Overanalyze in the Remsen in his 2-year-old finale and sixth in Daily Racing Form ’s Derby Watch, will likely launch his 3-year-old campaign Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds in the Risen Star.

“He’ll work early Sunday morning like he’s been doing,” said Brown. “He looks good. I’ll nominate him here” – for the Fountain of Youth – “but I’m leaning towards going to the Risen Star like we’ve planned. It’s more a function of the track with this particular horse. With the short stretch to the short wire with a horse who likes to come off the pace on a track that seems to favor a little more tactical speed than he does, I just don’t think running here would suit him. And with only two preps before the Derby, I’d rather play it safe with him and go to the Risen Star.”