02/26/2010 12:00AM

Lezcano serving a 15-day ban


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Jose Lezcano, who rode Buddy's Saint in the Fountain of Youth, started serving a 15-day suspension Monday. Lezcano, the defending Gulfstream Park riding champion, was tied for second in the standings behind John Velazquez at the time his suspension began.

Lezcano was cited for his ride aboard Pitched Perfectly in the sixth race here Feb. 11. The official ruling reads that Lezcano was suspended for "taking his mount out into the path of and repeatedly bumping It's Never to Late near the six-furlong pole, causing interference to both horses."

It's Never to Late was beaten a neck by Unbridled Heat as the 9-5 favorite in the $50,000 claiming race. Pitched Perfectly finished next to last in the seven-horse field. It's Never to Late also was claimed out of the race by trainer Peter Walder from Bennie Stutts Jr. and owner Dominick Auricchio.

Lezcano will be eligible to resume riding March 10.

Wesley back a winner after layoff

Trainer Mark Hennig was all smiles after Wesley returned from nearly seven months on the sidelines to capture Thursday's $56,000 main event on the turf. The 1 1/8-mile race was carded under high-priced optional-claiming conditions and lured a strong field that included Grade 2 winner Nownownow.

"I thought it was a very good comeback for him, I couldn't be more pleased," Hennig said. "The main reason I was concerned going into the race was the distance, since he had to go a mile and one-eighth off a long layoff and he's probably a better miler."

Wesley notched his only victory last year in Calder's Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap. He was ridden to victory Thursday as well as in the Miami Mile by Javier Castellano.

"Javier gets him to relax and rides him so well," Hennig said. "There wasn't a lot of pace in this race today, but if ridden properly he'll kick on at the end no matter the pace."

Hennig said he has nothing specific picked out for Wesley's next start.

Nownownow finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Wesley, as the even-money favorite in his local debut.

Castellano, who was blanked here last week, rebounded with a pair of wins on both Wednesday's and Thursday's cards to move into sole possession of second place in the jockey standings, just two victories behind leader Velazquez.

'Phil' targets Gulfstream Handicap

This Ones for Phil, winner of the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship on Feb. 13, will try to stretch his speed an extra furlong when he makes his next start in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 20, trainer Rick Dutrow confirmed earlier this week. This Ones for Phil worked five furlongs in 1:02 here Friday.

Another prominent name from the handicap division on Friday's tab was Dry Martini who breezed a half-mile in 48.50 seconds for trainer Barclay Tagg. Dry Martini finished a distant second behind Quality Road in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap earlier this month.