04/15/2010 12:00AM

Gulfstream roundup



Elvis Trujillo

Elvis was certainly in the house last week, winning nine races to put himself within striking distance of leading rider Paco Lopez going into the final seven days of the meet. Included in that streak were hat tricks on Thursday and Sunday's programs. Eight of Trujillo's nine wins from April 7-11 came for different trainers, the majority Northern-based outfits such as Tom Albertrani, Chad Brown, and Tim Hills as well as Peter Walder, for whom he posted a pair of victories in that period.

Tim Hills

Like Trujillo, Hills will be heading to much greener pastures this summer at Monmouth Park. The veteran horseman warmed up for that rich meet by sending out three winners here last week, two over the turf and the third an impressive debut performance by the 3-year-old filly Catch a Thief. A daughter of Flatter, Catch a Thief overcame not only the inside post and well-meant Todd Pletcher first-time starter Zermatt but her own greenness to win at first asking despite lugging in and failing to change leads through the stretch of a six-furlong maiden special weight dash.


With the majority of the top-name riders having packed their tack and headed north for the season, the local riding colony has suddenly become very inexperienced and at times very dangerous. A series of careless riding incidents have occurred here through the stretch over the last couple of weeks, none of which have resulted in any disqualifications or suspensions being meted out to the guilty parties.

The latest of these incidents took place near midstretch of Saturday's sixth race, in which seven-pound apprentice Leo Garcia hit his mount Big John G. six consecutive times right handed, forcing his horse to the rail and directly into the path of pacesetter The Spanish Life, who had position inside that rival when the ill-timed whipping began. Big John G. went on to capture the race, and The Spanish Life finished fourth, beaten one length for third money despite having to be checked over the winner's heels. Following a stewards' inquiry, the result, to the surprise of most observers, was allowed to stand.


To the glee of friend and colleague Ed Kaplan, the main track here continues to favor speed and stalking types; horses racing within a few lengths off the pace or beyond once entering the final turn rarely found their way into the winner's circle again last week. The turf, surprisingly, seemed to favor closers for the majority of the week, even over the tighter turns of the inner course.

Wednesday, April 7: Two wire-to-wire winners and three stalkers accounted for the five main-track races; none was worse than second approaching the eighth pole. The lone wire-to-wire winner on the turf was Starlite Princess going five furlongs over the outer strip.

Thursday, April 8: Six dirt races, three more wire-to-wire winners, and three stalkers, none of whom were farther than a length off the lead entering the stretch. Two of the afternoon's three grass races were won by horses racing near the rear of the pack after the opening half-mile.

Friday, April 9: One wire-to-wire winner and three stalkers accounted for the four main track races; only one was not on the lead turning into the stretch. Front-runners failed to last in any of the five grass events.

Saturday, April 10: Fiery Girl and Indian Bob accomplished something no other horse had done here all week - win from near the rear of the pack over the main track. The other three dirt winners were all in front by the time they had left the final turn. Conversely, the turf finally yielded a couple of wire-to-wire winners, Ifitwasn'tfortexas going five furlongs over the inner and Montesquieu at 1 1/8 miles on the outer.

Sunday, April 11: The majority of the eight main-track winners were on the lead by the time they turned for home before and after rain turned the track sloppy for the final three events on the card. The lone exceptions were Los Caobos (before the rain) and Show Trial (in the slop).


Dream of Atlantis joined Catch a Thief with an impressive debut win this week, wiring fellow 3-year-old statebreds Wednesday for trainer Peter Guylas and jockey Jose Ortiz.

Grazioso returned quick dividends off the claim for leading owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Nick Canani, stepping up to easily defeat entry-level allowance company in Thursday's main event.

Way With Words got the No. 1 star for the week after circling her field, drawing off to a one-sided decision in Saturday's South Beach Stakes.


A reminder when assessing recent Calder workouts that the track has been extremely dry and on the cuppy side. Half-mile drills completed in less than 50 seconds and five furlongs in better than 1:03 should all be considered with a lot more respect than if they had been run under more normal conditions.

I will single out Saturday's fifth race for a little special workout report consideration.

Fifth race

Splash of Silver: In new hands for her first start in nearly seven months and working well for the return. She exits a bullet half-mile drill in 49.05 on April 10, when she galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.90 - sharp, considering the prevailing track conditions at Calder. Well spotted for "a quarter" if not needing one off the bench.

Rupertactofduty: She showed some early speed working in a set of three from trainer Steve Dwoskin's stable March 27, covering her first three-eighths in 35.60 before laboring through the stretch and barely staggering across the wire. Barn rarely has them ready to fire at first asking.

Cat Wiesel: She did not break sharply and was no match for stablemate Bandon Dunes in a March 17 gate work, although her final time of 49.36 was the gallop-out, and she did show a little early foot once getting under way. We've seen a lot of fast workouts from this barn throughout the meet. Bandon Dunes competes in Saturday's seventh race.

Cruz Missile: Shows some fast pole works, and I had her in 36.91 for the opening three-eighths but under some serious pressure during her April 10 gate drill. Should show up with blinkers for her debut.

Eighth race

Americanrevolution: One of our favorite performers here over the last couple of years and a horse for the course who has once again been reunited with his favorite trainer, Bill White. Returns to Gulfstream off a nice 49.26 half-mile drill across town at Calder, shading 12 seconds, albeit under pressure, for the final furlong before galloping out in a respectable 1:02.56 over the deep surface.



Trainer: Christophe Clement

Last race: April 10, 9th

Finish: 2nd by 4 3/4

Odds-on favorite in the South Beach Stakes lost all chance when jammed in traffic near the quarter pole, then slammed when trying to recover and split horses at the head of the stretch. New York-bred filly appears in peak form despite the unlucky setback.

Sunkist Ruckus

Trainer: J.B. McKathan Jr.

Last race: April 10, 5th

Finish: 3rd by 6 1/4

Improving 3-year-old could not recover after getting shuffled back during opening furlong of a five-furlong turf dash. Did well to fight his way back to finish third. Has found his niche in grass sprints.

Jersey Shore Girl

Trainer: Rick Sacco

Last race: April 8, 8th

Finish: 3rd by 4 3/4

This 3-year-old filly's form continues to go in the right direction. Lost her best chance when forced to take up after the opening furlong of a 6 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance dash. Things got progressively worse when she was angled extremely wide approaching the stretch before finishing with good interest once straightened for the drive.

Red Jag

Trainer: Ron Spatz

Last race: April 7, 3rd

Finish: 5th by 6 3/4

One gets the feeling this 3-year-old is much better than the result of his debut run would indicate. He not only took a good deal of action at the windows but showed some early speed before getting put in tight quarters while racing in the seemingly deeper going along the rail. Expecting much better from him next time.