01/06/2011 2:43PM

Ward expects big performance from Gangsterontherun in Spectacular Bid

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Wesley Ward will saddle Gangsterontherun in Saturday's Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Opening day at the 2011 Gulfstream Park meet couldn’t have gone a whole lot better for Wesley Ward. Not only did the 42-year-old trainer take the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes with the rapid filly Final Mesa, but he also sent out a first-time starter named Gazillion Kisses to win in a field full of highly touted maiden fillies.

But that was Wednesday, and this is Saturday, when Ward is looking for further success when he saddles Gangsterontherun for the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream.

“I think he’s going to run better than Final Mesa,” said Ward, who has 26 active runners at Gulfstream and a division comprised mostly of 2-year-olds at Palm Beach Downs. “He just might be a notch better. I thought she might be a little short, but the way this colt is training, I think he’s absolutely ready.”

A spectacular performance won’t necessarily be required to win the six-furlong Spectacular Bid. None of the nine starters has won a stakes, and only two, Winchill and Dual Exhauzt, have won anything beyond a maiden race. This is the first stakes for 3-year-old colts at the meet, but given the composition of the field, it doesn’t figure to carry any impact on the more important races on the Triple Crown trail.

That said, several have shown promise, at least as sprinters. Gangsterontherun earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure in easily winning his second start at Parx Racing in Philadelphia in September and shows a recent bullet workout at Gulfstream. Leave of Absence, trained by Rick Violette, earned a field-high 94 Beyer in capturing a November maiden sprint at Aqueduct. Dual Exhauzt and Determinato both earned Beyers in the 90s in competition at Calder, while Cane Garden Bay was a decent fifth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and Winchill was an allowance winner in their respective last starts at Churchill Downs.

“There are a lot of unknowns in this spot,” said Dale Romans, trainer of Winchill. “Our colt took a big step forward in that last win. Obviously, we’d like to see him take another one.”

The Spectacular Bid goes as the seventh of 10 races on a Saturday card that also includes the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (race 9).