12/03/2015 3:34PM

Rapid Transit favorite Trouble Kid has been terrific claim for Preciado

Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo
The 3-year-old Trouble Kid has won $370,000 since he was claimed for $15,000 in July by trainer Ramon Preciado.

Trouble Kid was one of the most outstanding claims of 2015 and on Saturday he will return to his roots to lead the $110,000 Rapid Transit on the Claiming Crown card at Gulfstream Park. The restricted stakes is one of two on the program for main-track sprinters. The $110,000 Express drew defending champ Loverbil.

Trouble Kid is making his first appearance in the Claiming Crown. Barbara Hopkins and trainer Ramon Preciado took the 3-year-old out of a $15,000 maiden-claiming race in which he finished second July 5 at Parx Racing. Trouble Kid has gone on to earn $370,000, with the Grade 3 Gallant Bob in September among his wins.

“Amazing,” Preciado said. “We’ve had some nice claims the last couple of years, but he’s one special claim. We never thought he was going to run the way he’s run. We got lucky.”

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The Rapid Transit is a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2014. The six-furlong Express is restricted to 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less. Eleven were entered for the Rapid Transit and 15 in the Express, but a maximum of 14 can start.

Claiming Crown Rapid Transit, Race 6


Trouble Kid (Last 3 Beyers: 99-95-94)

◗ Trouble Kid has finished first in all five of his races for Hopkins and Preciado, but in his last start was disqualified and placed second for interference after a three-quarter-length score in the $350,000 De Francis Memorial Dash on Nov. 14 at Laurel. The decision of the stewards was rendered after a lengthy inquiry.

“It was a tough decision for me, and a tough decision for them, too, I guess,” Preciado said. “He ran a huge race. The good thing is the horse came back good and we have a lot of options with him. Now, we’re focused on the Claiming Crown. He’s doing great.”

◗ As part of his prep work, Trouble Kid worked five furlongs in 57.80 seconds by himself at Gulfstream. The move was the fastest of 38 at the distance at the track Nov. 30.

“He worked beautifully and came back good,” Preciado said. “I don’t think the work took anything out of him.”

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◗ Trouble Kid will be racing beyond six furlongs for the first time Saturday.

“We’re going to run seven-eighths this time and I think he will go [the distance],” Preciado said. “Down the line, I think he will go the mile.”

◗ Jose Lezcano has the mount on Trouble Kid, who figures to be prominent early from post 9.

“He has natural speed,” Preciado said. “He’s very light on his feet. I’m going to leave it in Lezcano’s hands. If he breaks, he can go. But he doesn’t have to be on the lead.”

Stallwalkin’ Dude (Last 3 Beyers: 90-98-103)

◗ A stretch threat to Trouble Kid, he also exits the De Francis. Stallwalkin’ Dude finished fourth in the race, one start after an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Earlier this year, Stallwalkin’ Dude ran a close third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont.

◗ Stallwalkin’ Dude is 3 for 10 on the main track at Gulfstream.

◗ Javier Castellano has the mount from post 7 for owner-trainer David Jacobson.

Claiming Crown Express, Race 9


Loverbil (Last 3 Beyers: 76-76-88)

◗ He was a neck winner of last year’s Express, then started off 2015 with an optional $10,000 claiming score in February, also at Gulfstream. Loverbil is now 5 for 9 on the year.

◗ Loverbil has turned in five consecutive bullet works in preparation for the Claiming Crown. The race will be his first start since September.

Alfredo Romana (Last 3 Beyers: 87-95-82)

◗ He has speed and the rail and brings a four-race win streak into the Express. The streak started in an optional $20,000 claiming race July 6 at Delaware Park. His run continued with an optional $32,000 claiming score at Penn National, an optional $40,000 claiming win at Suffolk, and an $8,000 starter allowance in his most recent start, Oct. 11 at Parx.