02/10/2011 10:54AM

J P's Gusto arrives at Oaklawn, joins Petalino's stable

Benoit & Associates
J P's Gusto is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - J P’s Gusto arrived at his new base of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., in the early evening hours Wednesday after a full day of travel from Southern California. One of the nation’s top 3-year-olds, he has been transferred from trainer David Hofmans to trainer Joe Petalino and is scheduled to run Feb. 21 in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.

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J P’s Gusto touched down in Memphis, Tenn., around noon on Wednesday, aboard a FedEx flight. He was then vanned to Oaklawn. But the usual 4 1/2-hour trip took over six hours because of traffic on Interstate 40. Most of Arkansas was hit with a snowstorm on Wednesday, and some overturned 18-wheelers temporarily closed down one of the highway’s westbound lanes, according to news reports.

Petalino said the van drivers remained in contact with the state police throughout the trip to ensure the safest and quickest travel route for J P’s Gusto.

“He was comfortable, in a big box stall,” Petalino said. “He came in good. He looks good so far, from what we’ve seen from him.”

J P’s Gusto won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last year at 2. The Southwest will be his first start since Dec. 18, when he finished second in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. The horse is an earner of more than $500,000, and races for Gem Inc.