Charles Town Classic (G2) and Harlan’s Holiday (G3) winner Stanford and Todd Pletcher stablemate Madefromlucky top a field of nine older horses entered in the inaugural running of Saturday’s $ 400,000 Poseidon Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The Poseidon, one of seven stakes on a 12-race program highlighted by the $ 12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), will be run under handicap conditions. The 1 1/8-mile stakes also attracted 2016 Preakness (G1) runner-up Cherry Wine, Grade 2 winner Imperative and Mylute, who was third in the 2013 Preakness.
Stanford, trained by Todd Pletcher for Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, was assigned high weight of 120 pounds. He drew Post 4 and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The 5-year-old son of Malibu Moon returned from a six-month layoff on Dec. 17 to win the Harlan’s Holiday by three lengths over Keen Ice, a Pletcher stablemate who is entered in the Pegasus World Cup.
The Harlan’s Holiday victory pushed Stanford’s record at Gulfstream Park to 2-3-0 from five starts.
“Stanford ran terrific in the Harlan’s Holiday and has trained really well,” Pletcher said. “He seems to be in great form. He had a sharp work. As he’s shown in the Charles Town Classic, the Harlan’s Holiday and a few other races, when he’s on his game, he’s a tough customer. We’re looking forward to that.”
Peter Pan (G2) and West Virginia Derby (G2) winner Madefromlucky was fourth in the Harlan’s Holiday, his first start in seven months. Madefromlucky will leave from Post 6 under 117 pounds, including four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano.
“He’s a seasoned veteran, a warrior,” Pletcher said. “He can be a little tricky in terms of the trip he gets. He didn’t get a great trip in the Harlan’s Holiday, he was kind of stuck inside, but he has come back and trained well. I expect that the mile and an eighth will be in his favor.”
Dale Romans trains Cherry Wine, a homebred owned by William Pacella, Frank Jones and Frank Shoop. The 4-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado will be making his first start since mid-November at Churchill Downs. The highlight of his productive 2016 season was the second-place finish to Exaggerator in the Preakness on May 21 over a sloppy track at Pimlico at odds of 17-1. Jockey Corey Lanerie, who was aboard in the Preakness and an allowance-optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park last year, will ride in the Poseidon from Post 5.
Antonio Gallardo was named to ride Imperative in his first start for new owner Ran Paolucci of Loooch Racing. Imperative won the 2014 Charles Town Classic (G2) has been graded-stakes placed six times since that biggest win of his career. The 7-year-old gelded son of Bernardini will be making his 36th start in a career that has produced $ 2 million in earnings.
Also entered in the Poseidon are Ranger in Paradise, Papa Zulu, Fearless Dragon and Sunshine Millions Classic winner Hy Riverside.
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