Hall of Fame Trainer Todd Pletcher Doubles Down for the $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes Presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa (G3) January 29 at Gulfstream Parkchoose to run both fearless and Liam in the milestones for older horses.
Pletcher had considered doubling up for the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes presented by 1/ST BET (G1) with Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Life is good and Repole Stable’s Fearless. However, on entry day, Tuesday, the 18-time Championship Meet title list decided to solo Life Is Good in the $3 million headliner and chose to run Fearless in the Hooper, along with Red Lane Thoroughbreds. and JSM Equine’s Liam.
Fearless, who has won four of five starts at Gulfstream, takes a powerful four-length win in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) after finishing second to fellow Hooper entrant Girolamo’s Attack in a November 21 nighttime disability at Gulfstream while coming out of a six-month layoff.
“He’s a horse that I think took a little bit of advantage from the post-half-time race and then took a step forward in the Harlan’s Holiday,” Pletcher said. “He seems to like Gulfstream a lot. He always walks well on that track. Since then he has been in shape and training sharply.”
Before going to the sidelines last year, the 6-year-old said Ghost Zapper gelding captured the WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).
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Liam joined Gulfstream after a nearly 15-month layoff on Dec. 15 to win an optional mileage allowance with 4 1/2 lengths in his first start for Pletcher.
“He had a good allowance gain after the break. He has also trained well, so we see the Hooper as the next step for him,” said Pletcher.
‘s 5-year-old son Liam’s card broke his virgin Remington Park in his third career starting September 2020 before finishing third in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) and going on the shelf.
Luis Saez has the recall aboard Fearless, while Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Liam for the first time.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. is also represented by two horses in the Hooper-Vegso Racing Stable’s on duty and John Fanelli, LC Racing, Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Girolamo’s Attack.
The duty service records two wins on the stakes in its last three starts, including a triumph in the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) last out. The 4 year old Blame Colt, who was deployed on grass when formerly trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, showed a new dimension when he won the off-the-turf Bear’s Den in Gulfstream three starts back. He finished way back trying the new Tapeta course in the Showing Up in his next start but recovered with his win over the Pegasus World Cup entrant endorsed and Hooper runner Dennis’ Moment in Mr Prospector.
good reason , Speakers corner , Shivaree and payne round the field.
entries: Fred W. Hooper S. presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Xalapa (G3)
Gulfstream Park, Saturday January 29, 2022, Race 10
- Grade III
- 1 m
- 4 years and older
- 16:12 (local)
Inside Information Pacific Gale Finals
Emotions ran high after last year’s $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, when durable mare Pacific Gale ended a run of 17 losing races with her first college win for the widow of one of trainer John Kimmel’s longest-serving clients, who had passed away just a month earlier.
Pacific Gale wins the 2021 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream Park
It could be an equally emotional Saturday afternoon when the 7-year-old daughter of Flat Out returns to Gulfstream with a chance to defend her title in what will be her last start.
Kimmel said Holly Hill Stables’ Pacific Gale will be bred to uncle Mo following the Inside Information, a race she won by 2 3/4 lengths at an odd of 16-1 last winter, after finishing sixth in 2019. Pacific Gale was booked for Not this time for 2021, but did so well that Kimmel convinced the late Mike Morton’s widow, Tobey, to give her another try.
“The owner had passed away and she hadn’t won a race in two years at that point. I was on a good relationship with Mr Morton and he had passed away in December. His wife actually wanted to disperse all the businesses and I basically did,” Kimmel said. . “I told her it would take me about a year. He had about 30 horses and that’s how long it took me to get it done.”
Pacific Gale was sold to Holly Hill after the inside info, and she paid an immediate dividend by winning Gulfstream’s Hurricane Bertie (G3) on her ensuing start – the first time she’d ever won consecutive races.
“We sold her to these new customers and she won for them the first time in Hurricane Bertie. She runs for them all year and she has a date with Uncle Mo this winter,” Kimmel said. “This will be her last start. I’ve had her since she was 2.”
Pacific Gale has gone winless in five attempts since Hurricane Bertie, but has qualified twice. Most recently, she finished fifth in the October 17 Floral Park on the Belmont Park turf.
Junior Alvarado is named after pole 6 in a field of 10.
“She’s just a class act. She’s a really nice horse to be around. Some owners bring their little kids around and she comes over to sniff them. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body,” said Kimmel. “Any horse that has stayed healthy so many campaigns, you hope she can pass that on to her offspring. She’s just a beautiful physical specimen. She’s stayed healthy, played multiple campaigns, she’s a multi-stake winner, a winner of grade 2, a grade 3 winner, and multiple bets placed. She always showed up and did her best.”
Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred four graces is also a dual graded stakes winner, having won the seven-furlong Dogwood (G3) and Beaumont Stakes, presented by Keeneland Select (G3), consecutively in the summer of 2020. She returned on January 6 from a seven-month six-furlong surcharge optional claiming at Gulfstream, second by nose as the favorite to spaceship Nala which also returns in Inside Information.
“We were very happy with her race, except I didn’t get the bob off the head. I really thought so, but that’s racing,” said trainer Ian Wilkes. “That was only her second race in 15 months. It was good that that race went. We could use it to kick the cobwebs off and as a way to prepare for this next race.”
Trainers Brad Cox and Pletcher will both start the final bet winners in the Inside Information for the first time. Cox takes charge of Warriors Reward and Commonwealth New Era Racing’s Just once , a two-time winner of the bet on fellow Pennsylvania varieties. Pletcher has St. Elias Stable’s AG Indy who took Senator Ken Maddy on the from sea grass in November.
Jakarta , crumb bun , Dance d’Oro , Family time and My little cabbage complete the field.
entries: Inside information S. (G2)
Gulfstream Park, Saturday January 29, 2022, Race 8
- Grade II
- 4 years and older fillies and mares
- 15:03 (local)