02/19/2014 2:51PM

Gulfstream Park: Saturday allowance could have Florida Derby implications

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tonalist, who runs in Saturday's sixth race, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for this maiden win.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The Fountain of Youth is not the only race on Saturday’s outstanding program likely to have Florida Derby and perhaps Kentucky Derby implications. The sixth race on the card, a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event, drew an outstanding field of 10 3-year-olds, many of whom have Derby aspirations. Among that group are the Todd Pletcher-trained pair of Constitution and Matterhorn as well as Tonalist, Wicked Strong, and Mexikoma.

Constitution overcame a terrible start to win his debut going seven furlongs here Jan. 11. Matterhorn has been idle since winning his only start, a one-mile allowance race at Aqueduct, on Nov. 16, at the expense of his highly regarded stablemate Harpoon.

[Fountain of Youth: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Tonalist earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure with an impressive 1 1/8-mile maiden win while getting blinkers and Lasix for the first time here last month. Wicked Strong, a close third in the Remsen, will attempt to rebound from a dull performance in the Holy Bull, while Mexikoma runs for the first time since finishing a promising sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Trainer Christophe Clement has high hopes for Tonalist, a son of Tapit, although he said he would have preferred to run him 1 1/8 miles again rather than 1 1/16 miles Saturday.

“It’s a little annoying to have to drop back in distance, but he’s a very exciting horse,” Clement said. “This is a very important race. He’s going to have to step up, and it will let us see where we fit and where we go from here. The Lasix was needed for his last start and the blinkers also helped, so for now we’ll keep them on. This is a very good field. I’d have preferred a little kinder spot, but it’s an easier race than the Fountain of Youth and it’s that time of year.”

White Rose returns in allowance

A second-level allowance race for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf highlights Friday’s card. The race drew a field of eight plus one also-eligible, and it is topped by White Rose, who makes her first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap on Nov. 9. Trained by Bill Mott, White Rose finished seventh while beaten only five lengths last fall in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl.

[DRF Live: Get live reports and handicapping insights from DRF writers and handicappers this Saturday]

Among the other leading contenders are the Pletcher-trained Galloping Giraffe, a restricted stakes winner on dirt but off the board in her only try on grass; the multiple stakes winner Bold Kitten; and recent allowance winners Antonia Autumn and Stick to Your Guns.

◗ Summer Front came out of his seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap “very sore,” Clement said, and plans for him are on hold. Summer Front had won the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale in his previous start.