01/10/2011 3:00PM

Honest Gold breaks through in Gulfstream maiden race


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Before facing eight other maidens in the seventh race Sunday, Honest Gold had finished second by a nose in her two prior starts, at Belmont Park in October and at Parx Racing in Philadelphia in late November. All that frustration was blown away in the six-furlong race when the 4-year-old filly romped by 9 3/4 lengths under Alex Solis, giving her the second-largest win margin of the opening five-day week of the meet.

“Getting beat a nose back-to-back is pretty unusual for any horse,” said John Kimmel, trainer of Honest Gold. “She put it all together today. The good part about it was, like Alex said, she wants to do more. We’ll probably stretch her out to seven furlongs or a mile when we run her back in an allowance race.”

The largest win margin on opening week was 10 3/4 lengths by a first-time starter named High Player in the first race Thursday.

Solis, meanwhile, is off to a solid start at Gulf, having won three races, good for a tie for fifth in the jockey standings. In 2010, after leaving his longtime home base of Southern California to ride primarily in Kentucky and New York, the 46-year-old Panama native had his least productive season, earnings-wise, since 1987, as his mounts earned $3.7 million. In addition, his 63 winners were the fewest since he began his career in the United States in 1982.

Solis was a young phenom on the south Florida circuit in the early 1980s, enough so that he was inducted into the Calder Hall of Fame in 2002. This May, it will be 25 years since he notched his lone victory in the Triple Crown series, the 1986 Preakness aboard Snow Chief. He has won more than 4,800 races, with mount earnings surpassing $221 million.

◗ Giant Oak, who was awarded the victory in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap following the disqualification of Successful Dan at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26, worked a half-mile in 47.98 seconds and galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.20 here on Monday morning. Giant Oak is likely to join Rule in the starting gate for the Donn.

◗ Coffee Boy, who has not started since upsetting the 1-5 D’Funnybone in Calder’s Grade 2 Carry Back on July 10, worked a half-mile in 50.40 seconds at Calder on Monday. The work was the fourth for Coffee Boy since returning to training this fall.

◗ Capt. Candyman Can, among the nominees for Saturday’s Grade 3 Mr. Prospector, worked five furlongs in 1:01.75 at Palm Meadows on Monday. A small field topped by Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Big Drama is expected for the Mr. Prospector.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch