01/27/2012 3:59PM

Gulfstream Park: Two-turn allowance an alternative to Holy Bull


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – It isn’t a stakes race, but it could be. When Sunday’s seventh race at Gulfstream Park is over, one or more of the nine 3-year-olds entered will be stakes bound in a bid to get on the Triple Crown trail.

A trio of stakes-placed 3-year-olds – Casual Trick, Take Charge Indy, and El Padrino – will meet in a $53,000 first-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on Sunday’s card at Gulfstream, which is highlighted by the Grade 3, $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes, also for 3-year-olds.

By running in this spot, these 3-year-olds get a chance to race around two turns while avoiding defending 2-year-old champion Hansen in the Holy Bull.

Casual Trick, trainer Nick Zito’s top 3-year-old, is coming off a runner-up finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, his first start around two turns.

“I thought he ran terrific and Johnny [Velazquez] was impressed with him,” Zito said. “He’s one of those horses you definitely got to give him his head because he’s not one of those that’s going to come from way out of it.”

Take Charge Indy, runner-up in the Arlington-Washington Futurity and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, makes his 3-year-old debut in this spot. Trainer Pat Byrne opted for this over the Holy Bull to keep the A.P. Indy colt around two turns. He also wanted to keep him in south Florida as opposed to shipping him to Tampa Bay for next weekend’s Grade 3 Sam Davis.

Byrne’s biggest concern is the potential for an off track given the forecast. He would prefer fast footing on Sunday.

Take Charge Indy put in a sharp five-furlong work on Tuesday at Palm Meadows and Byrne said “he’s sitting on go.”

El Padrino finished third in the Grade 2 Remsen last Nov. 26, beaten less than a length by O’Prado Again.

“I thought he ran well, he kind of got boxed in down inside for awhile; seemed like it took him a little while to get going,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Once he got clear down the lane, closed well and galloped out strongly. I thought it was a good effort but we were a little disappointed he didn’t win.”

Big Screen makes his third start of the meet. He lost a two-turn maiden race by a nose on Dec. 4 before winning a maiden race by a head on Dec. 31.

Bartolome, A Boy Named Em, Gaelico, In the Beat, and Argentine Tango complete the field.