11/29/2012 2:11PM

Gulfstream: Potential Claiming Crown starters stuck in Chicago

Barbara D. Livingston
Teaks North, a two-time Grade 1 winner in 2011, is prepping at Gulfstream Park for his first start since late January.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The restrictions put on horses stabled at Hawthorne Park due to the outbreak of the equine herpesvirus will also affect Saturday’s Claiming Crown program at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Michael Stidham said he had considered shipping Dreaming Blue to south Florida for the afternoon’s main event, the $200,000 Jewel, while Wayne Catalano had planned on running Cavalero in the $125,000 Emerald on the turf. Jim DiVito, the hardest hit of the Chicago-based horsemen who are Gulfstream-bound this winter, said he also had one horse under consideration for the Claiming Crown.

“We were thinking about the Jewel,” said Stidham, who currently has 22 horses at Hawthorne. “But as things have turned out, it really hasn’t been an option for us due to the quarantine.”

[CLAIMING CROWN: Get PPs, watch Saturday's Gulfstream card live]

Catalano said he was stuck in the same situation with Cavalero, a former $15,000 claimer who would have been one of the leading contenders had he been able to ship down for the Emerald. Cavalero has won six of his last eight starts, including a second-level optional claiming race at Hawthorne last weekend.

“We got lucky with Cavalero,” said Catalano. “When we knew we couldn’t get him out of there for the Claiming Crown we got him in an allowance race at Hawthorne and he won it.”

Catalano still has a half-dozen horses he’s trying to move from Hawthorne to join his south Florida stable. Catalano plans to have approximately 35 horses stabled here this winter, the majority at Gulfstream and the remainder at Palm Meadows, including Stephanie’s Kitten, winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, who is expected to make her 2013 debut in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River on Jan. 5.

DiVito has 30 horses currently restricted to Hawthorne. He said about half of that group had been scheduled to ship to Gulfstream for the 2012-2013 session.

“It’s just a mess out there, there’s nothing else to say about it,” said DiVito. “Whatever they are doing there to handle the situation is not working. I’ve never seen anything like it in the 40 years I’ve been in the business. I have to get my horses away from there soon or we’re liable to be stuck there all winter.”

DiVito did have a half-dozen horses stabled at Keeneland this fall that he was able to send on to Gulfstream earlier this month. That contingent includes Tulira Castle, a son of War Pass whom he plans to run in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day.

Peb Hughes debuts for Dutrow

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., who currently has a small portion of his stable at Gulfstream, will send out recent acquisition Peb Hughes in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit on Saturday. Peb Hughes was purchased privately at Calder by owner Dennis Narlinger and turned over to Dutrow, who sent him out to finish second in a $10,000 starter race at Parx on Oct. 15.

“He’s doing really good right now and I expect him to run well on Saturday,” said Dutrow by phone from New York.

Two of the better horses in Dutrow’s barn at Gulfstream, Teaks North and Associate, worked here Wednesday morning. Teaks North, a two-time Grade 1 winner in 2011 for trainer Justin Sallusto, breezed five-eighths in 1:01.54 while Associate, third in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler in his last start, went a very easy, maintenance type half-mile in 49.05 seconds.

Teaks North has not started since finishing fifth, for Sallusto, in the Sunshine Millions Turf on Jan. 28.

“He had a little issue when he joined our barn but he’s close to ready, doing great, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to run him for the first time,” said Dutrow.

Breakfast sessions begin Saturday

The popular Breakfast at Gulfstream program will be back again this season, beginning opening day and continuing each and every Saturday morning throughout the course of the meet. Breakfast at Gulfstream runs from 7-10 a.m. and will be hosted this year by Sandy Bruno, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens and currently assistant to trainer Phil Gleaves. Breakfast at Gulfstream includes a trackside buffet, special guest interviews conducted during training hours and the opportunity to tour the barn area, with Bruno, once training has ended.

Joe Bravo and track announcer Larry Collmus are among the guests scheduled for Saturday’s opening day breakfast.

◗ Christina Bossinakis and John DeSantis will serve as hosts and analysts for the 2012-13 season at Gulfstream. The pair will co-host Gulfstream Today before every live program as well as handicap and analyze each individual race on a daily basis. They will also be joined by Brian Skirka with live reports from the walking ring. Bossinakis comes to Gulfstream from the Thoroughbred Daily News, where she has worked as an editor since 2001. DeSantis, a former jockey agent, is currently a senior vice president and editor at Expressbet.

◗ Little Mike, upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as top male turf horse in 2012, will lead the post parade for the ninth race on Saturday’s opening day program.

◗ Racing fans will also be able to win an opportunity to take an escorted trip to meet Little Mike and his trainer Dale Romans in a raffle to be held from Dec. 1-15 with all proceeds to benefit Gulfstream Park’s Thoroughbred Aftercare Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. On Dec. 15, 50 names will be drawn, the winners to spend the morning of Dec. 16 at the Romans barn.