HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Al Shaqab’s Grade 1 winner Mshawish, undefeated in four South Florida starts, tops a list of 14 horses nominated for the 58th running of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/8-mile Donn, the first major race in the country for older horses, and its five supporting stakes drew a total of 126 nominations led by the $150,000 Suwannee River (G3) and $100,000 Fred Hooper (G3), each with 24.
A 6-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, Mshawish is coming off a neck victory in the one-mile Hal’s Hope (G3) to open 2015, his first win on dirt. He has never lost at Gulfstream, capturing the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), Fort Lauderdale (G2) and El Prado Stakes on the turf last winter.
California-based Grade 1 winner Hard Aces and multiple graded stakes winners El Kabeir, International Star, Madefromlucky and Valid are also among the Donn nominees. Hard Aces has not won since taking the Gold Cup (G1) last summer at Santa Anita. Like Hard Aces, El Kabeir and International Star have never run at Gulfstream, while Madefromlucky owns two wins and Valid – second to Mshawish in Hal’s Hope – is 6-for-11 lifetime over the local surface.
Other Donn nominees include multiple stakes-winning millionaire Page McKenney; Itsaknockout, winner of last year’s Fountain of Youth (G2) via disqualification who ended 2014 with an impressive allowance victory Dec. 31 at Gulfstream; Discovery Handicap (G3) winner Tommy Macho; stakes winners Financial Modeling, General a Rod and Mexikoma, favored winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 16.
Mshawish is also among the 22 nominations to the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap along with fellow Grade 1 winner The Pizza Man, who won four of six starts and nearly $1.1 million in 2015 and has yet to make his 7-year-old debut. Multiple graded stakes winner Heart to Heart has won two straight including a gate-to-wire triumph in the Fort Lauderdale Jan. 9.
Lukes Alley, a multiple graded stakes winner in Canada who was a narrow second to Heart to Heart in the Fort Lauderdale; graded stakes winners Charming Kitten, Eh Cumpari, Karibu Gardens, Legendary, Triple Threat and War Corrrespondent; and stakes winners Grand Tito and Tweet Kitten are also nominated.
Valid and Grande Shores, who ran 1-2 separated by a neck in last year’s Fred Hooper, are among the nominees to the one-mile dirt race for older horses. Others include multiple graded stakes winner Wildcat Red, second to speedball X Y Jet in the Sunshine Millions Sprint off a 3 ½-month layoff; Pegasus (G3) winner Mr. Jordan, a solid second in the Sunshine Millions Classic; stakes-winning Florida-breds Grande Shores and Saraguaro; and Ami’s Flatter, third in last year’s Florida Derby (G1) who returned from a six-month break with an impressive Gulfstream allowance victory Jan. 13.
Al Shaqab’s Sandiva, a winner of three of four lifetime starts at Gulfstream, is nominated to defend her title in the Suwannee River for females 4 and up going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Second by a neck in the Honey Fox (G2) last winter, the 5-year-old mare opened 2015 by winning the Marshua’s River (G3) Jan. 9. Multiple Chilean Group 1 winner Dacita, Grade 1 winner Rosalind and Tropical Park Oaks winner Tammy the Torpedo, all from the barn of trainer Chad Brown; Marty Wolfson-trained stablemates Lori’s Store and E B Ryder, 1-2 in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf; Grade 1 winner Photo Call; Argentinean Group 1 winner Sweetie Girl; multiple graded stakes winner Lady Lara and fellow stakes-winning Bill Mott trainee Tuttipaesi are also nominated.
Multiple stakes winner Lady Shipman is expected to open her 4-year-old season for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the $75,000 Ladies’ Turf Sprint for females 4 and up at five furlongs, which drew 23 nominations including defending champion Jewel of a Cat. There were 19 horses nominated to male stakes counterpart, the $75,000 Gulftream Park Turf Sprint, led by 2015 winner Amelia’s Wild Ride and graded stakes winners Power Alert, Pure Sensation and Singanothersong.
Source: Gulfstream Park