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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Five stakes winners are part of an overdrawn field of 12 males 4 and up (plus one Also Eligible) scheduled to run 1 1/8 miles over the lawn in race 9 on Thursday’s card at Gulfstream Park.
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1. Temple (3/1) – Trainer Mike Maker has a penchant for turning claims into stakes winners, including this 4-year-old gelded son of Temple City. He won the Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct three starts after Maker claimed him for $35,000. Luis Saez picks up the mount for a barn that has proven to be a successful pairing (17 for 69 since 2019).
2. Bird’s Eye View (8/1) – Though only twice a winner in 28 career starts, this Mike Dini trainee has hit the board 14 times. He will be making his first start of 2020 after running a flat fifth in a 1 1/16-mile turf event at Gulfstream Park on October 13.
3. Opry (4/1) – He enjoyed a good start to his career for trainer Todd Pletcher, breaking his maiden in the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) before competing in the Pilgrim Stakes (G3) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). He raced only once in 2019, running second in a turf mile, but he finally seems healthy as he makes his second start of the year. He wired a local 1 1/16-mile turf allowance on March 1.
4. Neepawa (12/1) – The Chiefswood Stables Limited homebred Neepawa is still searching for his first victory since taking the 2018 edition of the Breeders’ Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. He has been absent since finishing last of eight in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claiming race at Woodbine last September 7.
5. Thunder Ride (12/1) – One of three horses running for the optional $62.5k tag, Thunder Ride should set or press the early pace based on his past performances. He is reuniting with jockey Rajiv Maragh, who rode him to victory here on December 5 and nearly duplicated that result on January 20.
6. The Green Mo’ster (10/1) – Returning from a 10-month absence on March 28 for new trainer Monica McGoey, this Uncle Mo gelding showed interest late, passing horses in the stretch before missing third by a neck. He earned a career-best 90 Beyer for that effort and has reason to improve in his second start off of the layoff.
7. Ry’s the Guy (15/1) – Trainer Ian Wilkes is removing the blinkers in an attempt to reawaken something within this 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor. He ended 2019 with a narrow second (beaten a 1/2-length) in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, but he has failed to hit the board in both starts this year.
8. Award Winner (20/1) – As a half-brother to multiple turf graded stakes winners Oscar Nominated and Oscar Performance, Award Winner took a big step forward halfway through 2019 once trainer Brian Lynch placed him on the lawn. He seems to do his best running on the front end, so expect this son of Ghostzapper to set or press the pace.
9. Krampus (20/1) – Trainer Michael Tomlinson claimed Krampus for $62,500 and sent him back to defend his title in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3). Though he failed to menace in that or his subsequent start, perhaps returning to a distance over which he has had success (2-1-1-0 record) and/or dropping back down in for a tag will reverse his recent form.
10. Rijeka (10/1) – Since relocating from California at the end of 2019, Rijeka developed a new running style that emphasizes his strong turn of foot. Most recently, this Saffie Joseph, Jr., trainee closed from 12 lengths back to win a 1 1/2-mile local turf marathon on March 25. Victor Lebron, aboard for that score, will ride for the second time.
11. Arthur Kitt (9/2) – Though he has two North American starts under his belt, this British-bred son of Camelot is just now making his first appearance since permanently moving stateside and joining the Christophe Clement barn. He won his first two races as a juvenile, including the Chesham Stakes during the 2018 Royal Ascot meet, but only managed to hit the board twice in seven subsequent starts.
12. Timmy M. (20/1) – Stakes-placed at ages 2 and 3, this Joe Orseno trainee drops in for a tag for the first time as he tries to get back on track. Timmy M. failed to impact a 1-mile turf event here on February 22 in his first start as a 4-year-old and was a vet scratch on March 29, though he has worked twice since then, including a mile-long timed move in 1:49.40 on April 11.
13. Prince of Arabia (8/1) (Also-Eligible) – Do not be surprised if trainer Patrick Biancone is caught doing a rain dance leading up to this race. Not only does Prince of Arabia need at least one rival to scratch in order to make the gate, but the 7-year-old gelding has won both rained-off-turf events and over dirt courses rated less than fast.
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