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Host won't be sent to Dubai
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Host, the Chilean-bred champion who was being pointed to the UAE Derby on March 27 in Dubai, will miss that race due to a bad blood test, trainer Todd Pletcher said Friday.
"We pulled some blood on him and got those results back this afternoon, and I'm not satisfied with him," Pletcher said Friday. "I don't feel like it's the best thing for the horse to ship."
With Host staying home, so too is Harmony Lodge, the Grade 1 stakes-winning filly who was going to take on males in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a six-furlong sprint race. Host and Harmony Lodge are both owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk.
So, instead of sending three horses to Dubai for the rich March 27 program, Pletcher will only send Alke, who will run in the Golden Shaheen. Alke, who defeated Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat in the Deputy Minister Handicap last month, was scheduled to ship to Dubai on Saturday along with Cajun Beat.
Though Host is a 4-year-old by North American standards, he was eligible for the UAE Derby - restricted to 3-year-olds - because he was bred in the Southern Hemisphere and technically doesn't turn 4 until July.
Host had run twice in this country, finishing second in two classified allowance races on turf.
"We were very excited about Host," Pletcher said. "I felt like we had everything set up with the two preps. The horse seemed to be coming around, and we felt like we were holding a strong hand taking a horse that presumably was going to be the oldest horse in the race."
Pletcher expects Host to bounce back quickly, and if he does he will point him to the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap on dirt here April 3. Pletcher said Harmony Lodge would likely be pointed to a stakes at Keeneland, presumably the $175,000 Vinery Madison on April 7.
No. 5,000 eludes Prado on Friday card
Jockey Edgar Prado went 0 for 4 on Friday in his attempt to become the 19th jockey to win 5,000 career races.
Prado won five races on Thursday's card to move within one of 5,000. On Friday, he finished second aboard Tactical Gamble in the third, fourth on Terry Dancer in the sixth, second aboard Misty Appeal in the seventh, and eighth on Full Flow in the ninth.
Prado was scheduled to ride 10 horses on Saturday's Florida Derby Day card and three horses at Tampa Bay Downs on Sunday, including Swingforthefences in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Binya will miss Orchid Handicap
Binya, a most impressive winner of the Grade 3 The Very One Handicap, has been hampered by an infection and will not run in next Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Orchid Handicap, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
According to McLaughlin, Binya suffered a cut on a hind leg during the running of the The Very One, and the leg got infected. At first, it didn't respond to antibiotics, and McLaughlin had to switch to penicillin. McLaughlin said Binya could not run for 14 days after being treated with penicillin, so he didn't even nominate Binya to the Orchid.
McLaughlin said Binya has remained in light training and will now be pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland on April 21.
A total of 19 fillies and mares were nominated to the 1 1/2-mile Orchid. Ocean Silk, the runner-up in the The Very One, tops the list of expected runners. Others pointing to the race include Boana, Lost Appeal, Savedbythelight, Spice Island, and Miss Hellie.
The Orchid would be the stakes debut for Miss Hellie, a 5-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy who finished second behind Boana in a third-level allowance race here on Feb. 11.
"She wants to run that far, that's exactly what she's looking to do," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "She's doing really well. I think she'll be tough in there."
Charge may go in Pan American
McGaughey may also send out a runner in next Saturday's Pan American Handicap for males at 1 1/2 miles on turf.
McGaughey has nominated both Charge and Jackpot to the race. Charge, a son of Dynaformer, has won his last three starts on turf, including the Caltech last March here at Gulfstream.
McGaughey is very high on Charge, but isn't sure whether to try him at 1 1/2 miles off just one 1 1/16-mile race in nine months. Charge won that second-level allowance by a head here on Jan. 30.
"It's March," McGaughey said, inferring there's no need to rush. "I'll wait and see how it comes up. I think the further the better for him. He's kind of a one-paced horse who'll wait till you ask him."
Jackpot, a son of Seeking the Gold, won his turf debut last May at Aqueduct but hasn't won since. McGaughey believes the 1 1/2 miles would suit Jackpot.
Balto Star heads the list of 20 horses nominated, and is expected to run in the Pan American. Man From Wicklow and Request for Parole are also expected to start.
Seattle Fitz likely for Gulf Handicap
Seattle Fitz, who finished second in the Donn Handicap and fourth in the New Orleans Handicap, will most likely make his next start in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap here on April 3.
"The mile and a quarter is a bit of a question, but I think he'll get it," McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin felt that Seattle Fitz may have felt the effects from a hard campaign when fourth in the New Orleans Handicap. That was the third race in six weeks for Seattle Fitz.
"It might have taken its toll," McLaughlin said. "He ran well, he was just fourth-best on the day. He didn't like being down on the inside. He came out of it in good shape, and he'll have four and a half to five weeks to the next race."
McLaughlin said he would also nominate to the Oaklawn Park Handicap, but he's planning to run Seattle Fitz here.
Stockholder sidelined until fall
Stockholder, who finished third in the Hal's Hope Handicap here on Jan. 3, had surgery to remove a chip in a knee and will be out until fall, trainer Bill Mott said.
Stockholder, a son of Bertrando, looked to be a stakes star in the making last fall when he won two consecutive allowance races in impressive fashion at Aqueduct. He made his 4-year-old debut in the Hal's Hope and was bet down to 2-1 as the second choice behind Bowman's Band.
After lunging at the start, Stockholder finished third, eight lengths behind Puzzlement, who beat Bowman's Band by a neck.
* Funny Cide, who finished third in the Donn and New Orleans handicaps, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds Friday morning at Palm Meadows. Funny Cide is being pointed to the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct on April 3.
* Beginning next week, post times on Fridays will be 2:45 p.m. Eastern for the remainder of the meet.