02/19/2015 1:10PM

Weekend Hideaway brings big Beyer to Gulfstream Park Sprint

Barbara D. Livingston
Weekend Hideaway, winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint with a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, will try to prove that was no fluke Saturday in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Phil Serpe was not surprised that Weekend Hideaway won the Sunshine Millions Sprint given how well he was doing going into the race, but Serpe would be the first to admit that he never expected the New York-bred to receive a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort, which puts him in a tie atop the list of top Beyers for races run under a mile in 2015.

Weekend Hideaway will attempt to prove that that performance was no fluke when he wheels back against tougher competition in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint. Weekend Hideaway will face a field that includes the unbeaten speedball Mean Season, the recent Grade 3 winner Speechify, and the Grade 1-placed Happy My Way.

The Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint will be decided at 6 1/2 furlongs and drew a field of eight.

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Weekend Hideaway rallied to a four-length victory over Grande Shores in the six-furlong Sunshine Millions Sprint in his spectacular 2015 debut.

“I was confident he could win, the way he’d been training here, but shocked when I saw the numbers,” said Serpe. “Now we have to see if that was a one-time deal or not. Unlike his last start, this race isn’t restricted to Florida-breds and one New York-bred. It’s wide open. Mott’s new shooter [Mean Season] surely looks interesting, Speechify is always tough, and I would expect Happy My Way to run a better race than last time.”

Mean Season has won his three career starts by a combined 20 1/4 lengths but has not started since sustaining a small fracture near the suspensory of his left foreleg and being vanned off following an easy 7 1/2-length allowance win at Aqueduct one year ago. Mean Season has posted six works, including a pair of bullet half-miles at Payson, in preparation for his return.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Mean Season. Trainer Bill Mott is 37-5-5-4 with a $0.98 ROI over the past five years in dirt sprints following a layoff of 180 days or more. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Trainer Ralph Nicks freshened Speechify following his popular 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector here Dec. 27. The win was the third in the last four starts for Speechify, who has not finished worse than second in six starts under a mile on dirt.

Key contenders

Weekend Hideaway (Last 3 Beyers: 108-73-87)

* Recent works indicate he’s exited the Sunshine Millions Sprint in top form.

“We’ve throttled him back a little in the morning, but all his works since his last start have been very good,” said Serpe.

Mean Season (Last 3 Beyers: 107-105-80)

He never has been challenged in all three previous starts but figures to get tested from the outset by Happy My Way in the Gulfstream Park Sprint.

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Speechify (Last 3 Beyers: 103-97-81)

Comes off a career-best effort in the Mr. Prospector and has home-court advantage but has yet to win beyond six furlongs.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 6 Speechify. Won the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector in last start; horses that ran second, third, and fourth all had Beyer Speed Figure declines of more than 10 points in their subsequent starts. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Happy My Way (Last 3 Beyers: 93-96-74)

Comes off a disappointing effort as the odds-on favorite in the Sunshine Millions Sprint and has not done much in the morning since that outing that would indicate a return to top form is imminent.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Prudhoe Bay. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. is 35-12-6-4 with a $3.03 ROI over the past two years going turf to dirt in sprints. Click for more details. Mike Hogan