Grade 1 Winner Effinex Tops 19 Nominees to G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap

Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Chelsea Durand/NYRA

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Tri-Bone Stables’ Effinex, unraced since winning the Clark Handicap (G1) in November, heads a list of 19 horses nominated to the $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) March 5.

A total of 80 horses were nominated to three graded stakes on a program which also includes the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) and $150,000 The Very One (G3) for older horses on the turf.

A 5-year-old son of Mineshaft, Effinex had four wins and more than $1.7 million in purses last year from eight starts, including victories in the Clark, Excelsior (G3) and Suburban (G2) and a second-place finish to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He is currently working at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, for his 2016 debut.

Twelve-time defending Championship Meet leading trainer Todd Pletcher nominated nine horses to the one-mile GP Handicap led by multiple graded stakes winners Blofeld and Madefromlucky and 2015 Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Itsaknockout. Pletcher won the race in 2014 with Palace Malice and in 2013 with Discreet Dancer.

Gulfstream-based multiple graded stakes winner Valid, second to Grade 1 winner Mshawish in each of his last two starts to open his 6-year-old season; the Rick Violette-trained pair of Upstart, the 2015 Florida Derby (G1) runner-up, and multiple Grade 3 winner Samraat; and stakes winners Financial Modeling, General a Rod, Grande Shores, Grand Tito and Stanford are also nominated.

Grade 1 winners Big Blue Kitten, Lukes Alley and Twilight Eclipse are among the 28 nominees in the Mac Diarmida for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/8 miles on the grass. Big Blue Kitten and Twilight Eclipse met in their most recent start, the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), where they finished third and eighth, respectively. Lukes Alley is coming off a neck victory over Mac Diarmida nominee Shining Copper in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) Feb. 6.

Also nominated to the Mac Diarmida are graded stakes winners Da Big Hoss, Dynamic Sky, Goldy Espony, Kaigun, Karibu Gardens, Mr Maybe and Triple Threat.

Trainer Chad Brown has nominated eight of the 33 horses in the Very One for females 4 and older going 1 3/16 miles on the turf. Among them are Grade 1 winner Ball Dancing; Cay Dancer, winner of the Savannah Jane Stakes Feb. 11 at Gulfstream; Grade 2 winner Dacita, a multiple Group 1 winner in Chile; Goldy Espony; and Tammy the Torpedo, front-running winner of the Suwannee River (G3) Feb. 6.

Also among the nominees are Grade 1 winner Photo Call and Sandiva, a multiple Grade 3 winner at Gulfstream, both trained by Pletcher; and graded stakes winners Rainha Da Bateria, Tiger Ride and Walk Close.

Source: Gulfstream Park

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