HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Isabelle de Tomaso’s homebred Irish War Cry, a head-turning winner of the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), worked Saturday at the Palm Meadows Training Center for his next engagement, the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 4. It was a move that pleased the undefeated colt’s trainer, Graham Motion, immensely.
The five-furlong work, which was timed in 1:01.65, took place at approximately 9:45 on a very warm morning in Boynton Beach. It was orchestrated with the aid of a workmate, the 6-year-old Divine Oath, a multiple graded stakes winner on the turf. Under exercise rider David Nava, Irish War Cry, who was positioned on the inside, broke off behind his stablemate, easily reached even terms with him at the top of stretch, and drew off in the final sixteenth to put several lengths in between him and Divine Oath. The official splits for the work were 13 1/5 and 25 3/5, with a gallop-out time of 1:13 3/5.
It marked the first work for Irish War Cry — and it will be his only one for the Fountain of Youth — since winning the Holy Bull by 3 3/4 lengths on Feb. 4. The Holy Bull was the son of Curlin’s third victory in as many starts. He broke his maiden at Laurel Park Nov. 11 in a facile performance. In his second start, the New Jersey-bred captured the Marylander Stakes by a nose Dec. 31.
“I think everything went as well as I could have hoped for,” Motion said after the work. “I told David just to sit off his partner a little bit for the early part. He got his first eighth in 13, picked it up, and I got him in 1:01 and change. He galloped out in 13. He finished up very good. I had told David to make sure he galloped out strong. I wanted to be sure he got something out of it. I think it was about perfect, really.
“He is a really good workhorse, but I do think he can be a little lazy when he clears another horse like that,” he added. “I always work him in company. I don’t think I’ve ever worked him on his own before. That would be a novelty, if I had to.”
Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, said there has been a significant difference in Irish War Cry since arriving in Florida earlier this year.
“He has really perked up in the mornings. He was a pretty laid-back horse when we left Fair Hill in the fall,” he commented. “He is now a pretty sharp 3-year-old colt, which is exciting to see.”
When the speed of the Holy Bull, Fact Finding, scratched, Irish War Cry and jockey Joel Rosario inherited that role, and led from start to finish in the 1 1/16-mile race. But Motion doesn’t necessarily see that happening in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, the local prep for the $1 million Florida Derby (G1).
“It’s going to be a little different this time,” Motion said. “We didn’t have a target on our back last time. I couldn’t believe how comfortably he beat the 2-year-old champion [Classic Empire]. That was exciting. This time, it’s going to be a little bit different, because people will have expectations, as they should. Look, I just would like to see him run a similar race. He’s doing great and I see no reason not to run in the Fountain of Youth. We’re looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, at Gulfstream Park West, Holy Bull runner-up Gunnevera breezed five furlongs under jockey Edgard Zayas in heavy fog, which hampered clockers’ efforts to record an official time.
“He breezed good,” said trainer Antonio Sano. “He’ll go back to the track tomorrow morning to jog. The horse is doing very good.”
Javier Castellano has the mount aboard the multiple graded-stakes winner in the Fountain of Youth.
Source: Gulfstream Park