HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Despite seeing X Y Jet soar to four straight victories, two of them in stakes, each one flirting with a track record, trainer Jorge Navarro feels the best is yet to come.
Navarro will saddle the speedy son of Kantharos for the third time during the Championship Meet in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.
The 38th running of the Gulfstream Sprint is one of eight stakes, six of them graded, on a 13-race program that includes the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), $200,000 Davona Dale (G2), $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3), Palm Beach (G3) and Herecomesthebride (G3), $100,000 Sand Springs and $75,000 Texas Glitter.
X Y Jet opened his 4-year-old season Jan. 16 with a front-running 4 ¼-length score in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, running six furlongs in 1:08.58. The effort came less than a month after beating older horses in the Dec. 19 Mr. Prospector (G3), hitting the wire 9 ¼ lengths clear in 1:08.56.
“This horse, probably in the middle of the year he’ll let us know what type of horse he is, whether he’s just a fast horse or whether he’s going to be able to keep up with Runhappy and horses in California,” Navarro said. “Once we get there we’ll know what type of horse we have. Right now, I know we have a fast horse.”
X Y Jet has not lost since stumbling at the start and being eased down the stretch of last year’s Swale (G2) at Gulfstream, marking the only time in eight lifetime starts over the track where he failed to hit the top three. In addition to his recent wins he has four seconds, one of them coming in the Hutcheson (G2) last winter.
Following the Swale, X Y Jet didn’t race again for nearly seven months before beating older horses in an optional claiming allowance Sept. 20 at Monmouth Park. He won a similar second-level spot in November at Gulfstream Park West in his return to South Florida, both on the lead at six furlongs.
“He’s doing the best I’ve ever seen him train. He’s ready. We expect him to do the same thing. We’re spacing him out and giving him time. We’re taking our time with him,” Navarro said. “It’s just a matter of keeping him happy. He’s a tough horse and you’ve got to know how to train him. You have to keep him happy. He’s like a grumpy old man that doesn’t want to be bothered. That’s his mentality, so we just stay away from him and let him do what he wants to do. When we take him to the track it takes him an hour, but we take enough time with him and he pays us back.”
Rockingham Ranch purchased a majority interest from owner Gelfenstein Farm following the Sunshine Millions in X Y Jet, who earned an invitation to run next in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) at Meydan March 26.
“That is the meaning of a lifetime,” Navarro said. “Eight years ago I was hustling horses. I went to the Breeders’ Cup eight years later and now to go to Dubai, it can’t get better than that.”
Emisael Jaramillo, aboard for each of the last three races, gets the return call from post five of eight as the 123-pound co-highweight.
Chalk Racing’s Ready for Rye will make his 2016 debut in the GP Sprint for trainer Tom Albertrani. The gelded 4-year-old son of City Zip returns to the dirt after winning three starts on grass last summer and fall and running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Oct. 31, his most recent effort.
Ready for Rye ran twice over Gulfstream’s main track last winter, finishing second in the Spectacular Bid before posting a 6-1 upset in the Swale making him the last horse to beat X Y Jet.
“I guess you have to start somewhere and you can’t always be afraid of one horse,” Abertrani said. “It’s a good way to get him back. Whatever happens, it’s a good way to get a race under his belt and go from there.”
Meet-leading rider Javier Castellano, up for four of Ready for Rye’s five career victories, will be back aboard from post four at 121 pounds.
Barbara Hopkins’ Grade 3 winner Trouble Kid wheels back in the GP Sprint just 12 days after running fifth as the 3-5 favorite following a poor start in the Rail Splitter Starter Stakes at Gulfstream. Since being claimed for $15,000 last summer at Parx, the 4-year-old Harlan’s Holiday gelding has finished first or second in seven of eight starts, winning the Gallant Bob (G3) and disqualified to second in the De Francis Memorial Dash.
Rounding out the GP Sprint field are Grand Bili, winner of the Carry Back (G3) last July at Gulfstream; stakes-winning 5-year-old Viva Majorca and Griff, who captured the City of Laurel Stakes last fall, each making their 2016 debut; and recent Gulfstream allowance winners Candip and X Y Jet’s Gelfenstein Farm-owned stablemate Brothersofthetime, third in the 2014 Swale.
Source: Gulfstream Park