HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Patrick Biancone is sending his pair of highly-regarded Triple Crown contenders into Gulfstream Park’s Wednesday feature race as a prep for their next starts against bigger and better competition.
Up until now, Biancone managed to keep Ete Indien and Sole Volante separated as they each competed in southern Florida during the winter and spring. Ete Indien employed his early speed to win twice in four starts at Gulfstream Park, including the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), and hit the board in his other two appearances behind top Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Tiz the Law.
In contrast, Sole Volante’s running style is the exact opposite, as he likes to toil at the rear and make one long, steady run to the front. Doing so propelled him to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and a subsequent runner-up effort in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) behind a loose-on-the-lead winner.
Their strongest challenge on paper comes from the Ralph Nicks-trained Shivaree, who has finished first or second in his past 6 starts dating back to when he broke his maiden. Though he won a pair of 6-furlong dirt sprints earlier in his career, he stretched out well in the 9-furlong Florida Derby (G1), edging Ete Indien for second.
Here is a look at the full field for race 9 at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, June 10:
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1. Ete Indien (6/5) – The morning line favorite was also the top choice for Florent Geroux, who rode both Biancone entries in their most recent efforts while standing in for regular rider Luca Panici. Biancone adds blinkers for the first time here in hopes of tempering some of the Summer Front colt’s early speed.
2. With Verve (8/1) – He shook off the rust last month in a local 6 1/2-furlong sprint, finishing well enough late to indicate that he might relish going longer. Since 2019, Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado has won 5 of 25 mounts with trainer Larry Bates – 4 of which came aboard With Verve.
3. Soros (20/1) – He broke his maiden in the Smooth Air Stakes over this course and distance last fall, but he failed to hit the board in both starts so far this year. Gustavo Delgado will give a leg up to Edgard Zayas, with whom he has a 7-for-26 record since 2019.
4. Shivaree (9/2) – He strung together three straight wins that included two at the stakes level over the local course, though all came while sprinting. He dismissed any distance limitation questions last time out when he dug in to get past Ete Indien in the Florida Derby (G1) and should relish cutting back in distance and to one turn here.
5. Jesus’ Team (30/1) – The longest shot on the morning line rides a two-race win streak into this event, both of which came over this course and distance. This will be the toughest test that he has faced because he was running for claiming tags in both victories, but his connections show faith by running him protected against a much higher class when they could’ve looked for an easier spot.
6. Hard Lighting (15/1) – He was late getting to the races and was not unveiled until March 29, when he faced the eventual Unbridled Stakes winner and Belmont Stakes (G1) contender Dr Post. He broke his maiden over this course and distance last time out while running in a sloppy off-turf maiden special weight and is the only runner to have won an off-track event.
7. Sole Volante (9/5) – After running on turf and winning in his first two career starts, he transitioned to dirt and took a big step forward from a speed figure standpoint. Biancone has stated that the plan is to enter the Belmont Stakes (G1) 10 days after he runs here, so some have questioned whether the Karakontie gelding will be pushed hard enough for the win, especially considering that the pace setup does not lean in his favor.