Millionaire Da Big Hoss, a winner of five stakes, including four in succession, during his 2016 campaign, took a step closer to his seasonal debut by working six furlongs on the dirt in 1:14.42 at Gulfstream Park Friday morning.
The 6-year-old, a former claimer who was plucked out of a mile turf race for $ 50,000 in June of 2015 by trainer Mike Maker, is under consideration for the $ 200,000 Pan American (G2), a 1 1/2-mile turf race which will be run on the Florida Derby Day undercard, April 1.
“Possibly he will run in the Pan American, but I would like to get another work into him next week before deciding,” Maker said. “He’s doing super and galloped out a mile today, strongly, in about a 1:45. He’s definitely close to running.”
Da Big Hoss, an earner of more than $ 1.5 million, hasn’t raced since finishing 11th in November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Since claiming the Kentucky-bred for Skychai Racing, Maker has developed the horse into a very dependable marathoner, particularly when big money is on the line. Da Big Hoss won four graded stakes at four different tracks in 2016: Sam Houston’s John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3); Keeneland‘s Dixiana Elkhorn (G2); Arlington’s American St. Leger (G3); and Kentucky Downs’ Kentucky Turf Cup. He also won Belmont Park’s Gold Cup Invitational.
Da Big Hoss’ pedigree, which prominently features two Belmont Stakes winners – his sire is Lemon Drop Kid and his dam’s sire is Touch Gold – was a draw to Maker when he made the astute claim. While the horse has been a dream on the track, he can be cantankerous around the barn.
“That pedigree looked like longer distances would be his cup of tea,” Maker commented. “He’s been very reliable for us. As he has gotten older, he’s still his same grouchy self around the barn. It’s really funny – if he likes you, he likes you, but if he doesn’t, he really doesn’t. Thankfully, he likes me.”
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