03/25/2011 3:19PM

Gulfstream: S.S. Stone steps up for Skip Away

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S.S. Stone, who has already won three races here this winter for trainer Nick Zito, will step into stakes company for the second time in his career in next Sunday’s Grade 3 Skip Away. S.S. Stone has won his three starts by a combined 18 lengths, beginning with a $20,000 conditioned claiming race on opening day.

“He’s cut out to be something special but he’s had nothing but troubles after troubles and tons of physical problems,” said Zito. “Fortunately nobody claimed him for the $20,000. I’m very partial to him for several reasons since he’s owned by Mr. [Robert] LaPenta, is by Birdstone, and was bred by Mrs. [Marylou] Whitney.”

Zito also reported that Heron Lake, who defeated among others Arch Traveler when a game debut winner here earlier this winter, popped a splint for the second time and has been stopped on for the time being.

◗ Reynaldo Nobles, who in his heyday trained both Deputy Minister and his son Dehere, sent out Extract to win Friday’s second race. The victory was the first for Nobles, the leading trainer at Gulfstream Park in 1983, since 2004 at Delaware Park. Nobles worked as a security guard at the Palm Meadows stable gate last winter.