03/31/2011 5:22PM

Gulfstream Park: Swale draws six without Flashpoint


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The decision by the connections of Flashpoint to run their undefeated 3-year-old in the Florida Derby didn’t actually bring about a mad rush to the entry box for Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Swale Stakes.

Only six were entered in the seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, led by Travelin Man, who finished second, albeit by 7 1/2 lengths to Flashpoint, in the Hutcheson last time out.

Coming off a 7 1/4-length debut victory here Jan. 6 in which he ran six furlongs in 1:09.09 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 106, Travelin Man was sent off at 3-5 in the Hutcheson. Breaking from post 2, Travelin Man was forced to go and was pressed hard by Flashpoint from the outside before that rival drew away.

FLORIDA DERBY DAY: Watch Mike Welsch’s video workout report – tune in Sunday for live racing

Travelin Man will break from the outside post under John Velazquez with 115 pounds, eight fewer than Indiano.

One horse who came into the Swale field when Flashpoint did not was Indiano, a Kentucky-bred son of Indian Charlie who won his first five starts in Panama before being moved to the Calder-based Marty Wolfson. In his first start in this country, Indiano finished second behind the Todd Pletcher-trained Escort in a first-level allowance race.

Wolfson believes Escort might be a better horse than Travelin Man at seven furlongs and was pretty happy with Indiano’s first start for him.
“I think a lot of Escort. He was really impressive when he broke his maiden,” Wolfson said. “At 6 1/2 [furlongs], my horse would have beaten him. He was a little green, didn’t switch leads properly, and didn’t switch until late. For him to run [1:09.28], I thought it was really impressive.”

Julien Leparoux will ride Indiano from post 4.

Others entered in the Swale include Black N Beauty, Little Drama, and Razmataz.

Drosselmeyer set for Skip Away

Drosselmeyer, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, will face 10 rivals Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Skip Away Stakes at 1 3/16 miles.
Drosselmeyer, who drew the rail, finished fourth in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 5, a race in which he was extremely wide. Garrett Gomez, in town to ride To Honor and Serve in the $1 million Florida Derby, will ride Drosselmeyer.

The deep field includes Colizeo, who defeated Drosselmeyer in the Challenger Stakes and who will attempt 1 3/16 miles for the first time; Jackson Bend, who finished third in last year’s Preakness but has not won in his last nine starts; and S.S. Stone, who has won three consecutive races over this track this meet for trainer Nick Zito.

Little Mike heads Appleton field

Little Mike goes for a third graded stakes win this meet on Sunday when he meets nine rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 Appleton Stakes going a mile.

Little Mike won the Grade 3 Fort Lauderdale by a nose, finished sixth in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, but then came back to win the Grade 3 Canadian Turf by 1 1/2 lengths.

Little Mike will break from the rail and carry top weight of 123 pounds under Joe Bravo.

Successful Mission and Cherokee Artist, the 1-2 finishers out of a swiftly run allowance race March 13, head the list of challengers. Trainer Michael Matz sends out the uncoupled entry of Mikosi and Nicanor.

Hibaayeb returns in allowance

Hibaayeb, who won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita last October in her first start in North America, makes her 4-year-old debut in a $63,900 turf allowance race going 1 1/16 miles on Saturday’s card.

Hibaayeb, owned by Godolphin Racing, has not run since finishing eighth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.

Assistant trainer Rick Mettee, who oversees trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s North American-based horses, said this race is being used as a prep for the Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park.

“She’s breezed pretty well,” Mettee said. “Saeed said she’s significantly better on firm ground than anything else. A mile and a sixteenth might be a little short, but for a comeback race you have get something for her.”

The field includes Tapitsfly, the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner who missed her entire 3-year-old season due to injury. She has raced twice this winter, finishing last in her comeback on Jan. 12 before getting beat a nose here on Feb. 27.

“She’s doing really good,” trainer Dale Romans said. “I didn’t think I had her as fit as I thought first time out. Obviously, she was much more fit the last time.”

Ice Box works, eyes Westchester

Ice Box, last year’s Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, worked four furlongs in 48.05 seconds Thursday morning at Palm Meadows. It was the third published work of the winter for Ice Box, who has not run since finishing fifth in the Monmouth Cup on Oct. 9.
Zito said that Ice Box could be a candidate for the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park on April 30.

“He’s coming along good, he’s only a couple of works away,” Zito said. “The Westchester is what I’m pointing him for.”

Zito also worked Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile runner-up Morning Line four furlongs in 47.40 on Thursday morning. Morning Line, second in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in his last start, is under consideration for the Grade 1 Carter on April 9 at Aqueduct.