Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Oscar Nominated is set to finish off a most productive 2016 campaign Saturday at Gulfstream Park with a start in the $ 75,000 Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-olds. The Michael Maker-trained ridgling has amassed nearly $ 600,000 during a sophomore campaign that included three stakes triumphs, as well as a start in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
“He’s training well as always,” Maker said. “He shows up every time and I don’t expect anything different Saturday.”
The homebred son of Kitten’s Joy captured the Black Gold Stakes over Fair Grounds’ turf course in February before earning a berth in the Kentucky Derby with a triumph in the Spiral Stakes (G3) over Turfway Park’s synthetic surface in March. Never a factor in the Run for the Roses after experiencing trouble while traversing the dirt surface at Churchill Downs, Oscar Nominated was returned to turf for the rest of his 3-year-old season.
After experiencing a rough trip in a close-up second-place finish in the American Derby (G3) and forced to check before finishing fifth in the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington, Oscar Nominated romped to a 6 ¼-length victory in the $ 350,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs in September. However, he ran into trouble again last time out in the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita, where he was stuck in traffic at the top of the stretch and was forced to delay his run until it was too late. The Kentucky-bred colt finished fourth, less than a length behind the winner and two heads away from finishing second.
“I think it cost him the race 100 percent,” Maker said.
Julien Leparoux has been named to ride Oscar Nominated, who is scheduled to be joined in the starting gate by stablemate Two Step Time.
Get Away Farm’s Two Step Time, who finished a close fourth behind Oscar Nominated in the Spiral, is coming off a photo-finish loss in the Showing Up Stakes at Gulfstream Park West in his most recent start.
“He kinda waits on horses when he gets the lead. He got the lead a little early and got beat,” Maker said.
Tyler Gaffalione is named to ride Two Step Time in the 13-horse field entered Wednesday.
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Inspector Lynley earned graded-stakes status while winning the Saranac (G3) at Saratoga in September. The Shug McGaughey-trained colt ran back to finish fifth behind Saranac runner-up Camelot Kitten following a wide trip in the Hill Prince (G3) at Belmont.
“I don’t think he ran that bad. He didn’t get beat that far. Things just didn’t go his way. The turf may have had more give than he wanted,” McGaughey said. “He’s been freshened up now, so we’ll see what happens Saturday. I think his future is in front of him.”
Stronach Stables’ Berliner is also scheduled for a rebound bid from a subpar showing in the Hill Prince, in which he finished seventh, a quarter of a length behind Inspector Lynley. The son of Bernardini entered the Hill Prince with a three-race winning streak at Woodbine after being transferred to trainer Nick Gonzalez.
“We took advantage of his fitness. He was good and fit when we got him. He was in great shape,” said Gonzalez, who named Paco Gonzalez to ride the homebred colt. “He rattled off three wins in a row. The farther he ran the better he got.”
Multiple-stakes winner Giant Run will seek to rebound from a troubled off-the-board finish over a soft Belmont turf course in the English Channel Stakes in his most recent start. The Tom Albertrani-trained son of Giant’s Causeway broke his maiden, finished second in the Palm Beach (G3) and won the Cutler Bay Stakes last season at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Robert Baker and William Mack, Giant Run went on to win Manila Stakes at Belmont and the $ 200,000 Centaur at Indiana Grand. Joe Bravo has the mount Saturday. Albertrani also entered Direct Message for a man-track-only start.
J R’s Holiday, who won the Kitten’s Joy Stakes last season at Gulfstream, is set to make a return from a six-month layoff in the Tropical Park Derby. Trained by Jose Garoffalo-trained for J R’s Racing LLC, the son of Harlan’s Holiday finished second in the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland in the spring before going to the sidelines following an off-the-board finish in the American Derby (G3) at Arlington Park. Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount.
The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Stockyard and Gimlet, both recent optional claiming allowance winners at Gulfstream Park West; Franklin Towers, who defeated Two Step Time in the Showing Up; Mighty Mo, a Bill Mott-trained allowance winner at Aqueduct last time out; Strike Midnight, a multiple stakes-placed runner trained by Leah Gyarmati; and Tonedaddy, a recent maiden winner at Woodbine; round out the field.
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