02/11/2012 4:56PM

Gulfstream Park: Sheppard scratches Ever So Lucky from Hutcheson

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said a combination of a week’s worth of bad weather and the prospects of a wet track prompted his decision to scratch Kentucky Derby hopeful Ever So Lucky from his much-anticipated 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s seven-furlong Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park.

“He needed some good, strong gallops during the week, especially after we gave him a conservative work because of the wet track at the beginning of the week,” Sheppard said at his barn during training hours Saturday. “The track wasn’t great that day and it’s been sloppy since.”

Ever So Lucky, who is owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard on Monday. Ever So Lucky hasn’t raced since finishing second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in November.

“He had a little issue and we had to back off him after his last race in Kentucky,” Sheppard said, referring to some minor bone bruising. “Right now his legs are great but I had a long discussion with Mr. Strawbridge yesterday and we decided under the circumstances that we just didn’t want to take a chance.”

Sheppard said waiting for the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Swale on March 10 is one option for Ever So Lucky’s return.

“He’s got plenty of conditions left too so we’re just going to keep an open mind,” said Sheppard.

McGaughey explains scratch

Trainer Shug McGaughey said the rain which inundated the area the past week was the reason he decided to scratch Boisterous from Saturday’s Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

“He’s doing fine, the reason I came out was strictly because of the turf course,” said McGaughey. “He trained well up to the race, had a good breeze over the course last weekend but we’ve had a lot of rain and I’m just being a little careful. He’s run well over yielding turf in the past and he might have liked it out there today but I just don’t want to take any chances this early in the year.”

McGaughey said he’s not certain where he’ll turn next with Boisterous.

“After I decided to scratch I started looking around and the only race I can find on the horizon would be the Mervin Muniz in Louisiana but we’ll just wait and see,” said McGaughey.”

The Grade 2 Muniz is scheduled for April 1 at the Fair Grounds.

Tackleberry works in slop

Tackleberry worked five furlongs in 1:01 over a sloppy track Saturday at Calder as he progresses towards his first start since the $1 million Charles Town Classic. Trainer Luis Olivares has yet to decide whether Tackleberry will run in next Saturday’s seven-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint Handicap, a Grade 2, or await the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 10. Tackleberry won both races here last winter.

* Only five horses worked over a sloppy and sealed racetrack here on Saturday, all from the barn of trainer Peter Walder. One notable exception from the Walder workout brigade was the star of the stable, Force Freeze, who had his half-mile gate drill postponed until Sunday. Force Freeze will be among the favorites in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Handicap.