01/08/2015 2:04PM

Za Approval makes first start for new barn in Fort Lauderdale

Nicole DiGiovanni/NYRA
Za Approval, winner of the Real Courage Stakes, will make his first start for new trainer Mark Casse in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Of the three stakes on the Saturday Gulfstream Park card, the Fort Lauderdale has the highest grade, richest purse, and largest field.

Carded as the 10th of 11 races, the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Lauderdale, at 1 1/16 miles on turf, will be preceded by the Grade 3 Marshua’s River (race 8), for fillies and mares on turf, and the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope (race 7), a race Lea will try to win for the second year in a row while making his long-awaited comeback.

The 13-horse Fort Lauderdale is wide open, with Mshawish coming off a two-length score in the $100,000 El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream for Todd Pletcher; Mosler making his stakes and turf debut off a second-level optional-claiming victory at Aqueduct for Bill Mott; and Za Approval exiting a sneaky-good runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar.

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Za Approval, trained throughout his career by Christophe Clement, will make his debut for Mark Casse in the Fort Lauderdale.

A 7-year-old Ghostzapper gelding, Za Approval earned $1.2 million in his four seasons with Clement, winning three Grade 3 stakes. His best performance may have come in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita. Za Approval opened a clear lead in midstretch of the BC Mile, only to be caught late by Wise Dan and beaten three-quarters of a length.

“He is a great horse, a wonderful horse with a lot of class,” Clement said. “He was a late developer. I have nothing but good things to say about him.”

Za Approval was bred and is owned by the Live Oak Plantation of Charlotte Weber. He always has performed best on firm turf, and Casse, who has four other horses for Live Oak, operates a West Coast division. Bruce Hill, the general manager of Live Oak Pkantation and Live Oak Stud, said that prompted the trainer switch.

“We respect and admire Christophe, and it was awkward and uncomfortable to make this change,” Hill said. “But it became clear that the horse does not like yielding turf and that he belongs in California. He races well out there, and we’re not as big a stable as some people think. When you oversee a stable, you sometimes have to make hard decisions.”

Za Approval comes to Casse in top form off a victory in the Real Courage overnight stakes at Belmont Park and his runner-up effort in the Seabiscuit.

“I feel like it’s an honor and privilege to train this horse,” Casse said. “Christophe obviously did a wonderful job with him.”

In the Seabiscuit, Za Approval raced several lengths off the pace while saving ground. But as sometimes happens, he never got off the rail and had to work his way through inside horses in the stretch.

He was just starting to roll at the finish and came up three-quarters of a length short of Kaigun, who is trained by Casse.

“I think we may have gotten a little lucky,” Casse said. “We made a big outside move, and he kind of got hung up for a second.”

Za Approval is 3 for 6 at Gulfstream. He comes into the Fort Lauderdale off three bullet turf works for Casse at Palm Meadows.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 Tesseron. Trainer Josie Carroll is 12-3-1-1 with a $2.55 ROI over the past four years going synthetic to turf in routes with last-out winners. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Parranda preps for Singapore

Parranda, a new horse in the Clement stable, is the one to beat in the Marshua’s River.

A $13,000 2-year-old purchase in 2011, Parranda began her career in Florida and eventually won the Grade 2 Suwannee River last February for trainer Rodolfo Garcia.

Purchased by Jerry Hollendorfer and partners, she made her final seven starts of the year in California, winning the Grade 2 Royal Heroine and Grade 3 Wilshire.

Parranda was purchased by the China Horse Club for $800,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. Plans call for her to race Feb. 22 in the China Equine Cultural Festival Singapore Cup.

Parranda has had five works for Clement at Payson Park since Dec. 2.

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“We are getting her ready for the Singapore race,” Clement said. “We will use this as a prep. Stakes at Gulfstream are never easy, but she is doing very good, and why not run her?”

Parranda will face males in the Singapore Cup, which will be run at about 1 1/8 miles on turf. The race is worth approximately $2.5 million, as the exchange rate for a Singapore dollar currently is about 80 cents U.S.

According to its website, the China Horse Club is “China’s premier lifestyle, business, and Thoroughbred racing club, and it provides peerless experiences for members and their guests.” The Chinese Equine Cultural Festival in Singapore is timed to coincide with Chinese New Year celebrations.

Parranda’s main rival in the 10-horse Marshua’s River field may be Summer Moon, a 3-for-7 French import making her U.S. debut for Chad Brown.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 7 Summer Moon. Trainer Chad Brown is 10-3-2-1 with a $3.32 ROI over the past five years in turf route graded stakes adding Lasix to foreign shippers following a layoff of between 61 and 180 days. Click for more details. Dan Illman

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 8 Scampering. Trainer Shug McGaughey is 14-5-3-1 with a $3.24 ROI over the past two years in turf route graded stakes following a layoff of between 61 and 180 days. Click for more details. Dan Illman