03/04/2011 4:30PM

Gulfstream turf sprint feature lures Rose Catherine, Stormy Publisher


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – With the presence of Dialed In stealing the thunder earlier in the afternoon, the $60,000 Ladies Turf Sprint will take a bit of a back seat on Sunday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park. But the five-furlong sprint did draw not only a full but very competitive lineup, led by the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf runner-up Rose Catherine and the Argentine-bred Stormy Publisher, who has won both her U.S. starts in the gamest of fashions.

Rose Catherine turned into a turf sprint specialist last season for trainer Todd Pletcher, winning 5 of 7 starts at distances ranging from five to 6 1/2 furlongs before closing out the campaign finishing seventh against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Although Rose Catherine is well travelled throughout her career, the Ladies Turf Sprint marks her first start here.

Rose Catherine is one of two fillies Pletcher entered in the race. He also has Midst, a lightly raced speedball who has not started since May and will be making her turf debut.

Stormy Publisher was a listed stakes winner in her native Argentina before joining trainer Christophe Clement’s stable late last summer. She held on resolutely for a head decision in her North American debut in an overnight stakes over the Belmont turf course in October, then opened her 2011 campaign by dueling every step of the way before hanging on for a hard-earned nose decision in the Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on New Year’s Day.

Trainer Linda Rice’s multiple stakes winner Ahvee’s Destiny, who finished third against males in the Gulfstream Turf Sprint here earlier in the meet, is another key contender.

Powhatan County may get shot in Derby prep

Powhatan County came off a six-month layoff with a big effort to win an entry-level allowance race on the turf here Thursday for trainer George Weaver. And in the process may have thrust him self at least briefly into the Kentucky Derby picture.

Powhatan County had not started since finishing second behind Soldat racing on turf in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on Labor Day at Saratoga when he went out and wired a good field of allowance rivals, including runner-up Animal Kingdom, under jockey Javier Castellano in Thursday’s feature.

“I really didn’t expect that kind of trip,” said Weaver. “My instructions to Javier were just to go out there and win me a race if you can. I never expected him to be on the lead but Javier said he was so sharp today he just dragged him to the front.”

Weaver said he’s uncertain what would be next for Powhatan County, a son of Fusicachi Pegasus, but did not rule out taking one chance on the main track to see if he could qualify for the Derby.

“He’s a quality horse and his daddy won it so why not think about the Derby?,” said Weaver. “There’s a good shot we could nominate him to the Lane’s End or try him on conventional dirt somewhere. He’s only got the $20,000 in graded earnings he won in the With Anticipation so obviously if we decide to go in that direction we’d have to seal the deal with his next one.”

Jackson Bend on the fence for Gulfstream Handicap

Jackson Bend worked a mile in 1:45 at Calder on Friday. Afterwards, trainer Stanley Gold remained uncommitted as to whether he will run his former pupil in Saturday’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Jackson Bend began his career winning all five of his starts at 2 with Gold. Robert La Penta purchased a majority interest in Jackson Bend from his owner-breeder Fred Brie and turned the son of Hear No Evil over to trainer Nick Zito, for whom he finished second in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, and Grade 1 Wood Memorial, then third in the Preakness as well as 12th in the Kentucky Derby during the first half of his 3-year-old campaign. But after Jackson Bend failed to hit the board in three subsequent tries to close out the year, La Penta and Brie decided to reunite Jackson Bend with Gold, at least for the winter.

“He worked good, did just what I wanted him to do this morning, although sometimes it’s tough to judge a work over the deeper track at Calder,” said Gold. “He seems like the same horse I had as a 2-year-old, but don’t forget he was on the Florida stage back then and he was on the national stage last year. I know people say he hasn’t won a race since he left me but he finished third in the Preakness, second in the Wood, and ran well in the Derby and several other big races so to make that kind of statement is unfair to the horse and unfair to Nick.”

◗ I Want Revenge worked six furlongs in 1:13 shortly after the renovation break here this morning and will be among the favorites off his fourth- place finish in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap earlier in the meet if he starts in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Trainer Rick Dutrow remains hopeful I Want Revenge could still receive a last minute invitation to the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 26.

◗ Winter Memories, runner-up as the favorite in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, breezed three furlongs in 35.80 seconds over the Palm Meadows turf course on Friday. The work was just the second for Winter Memories this winter.