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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In just 4 races, Tarantino has shown the promise of a future turf star, but his connections are hoping that the Triple Crown will be in the future of the son of Pioneerof the Nile following Saturday’s $200,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Tarantino, who is a nose away from being undefeated, is scheduled to make his debut on dirt in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n Dale at Xalapa.
“He’s been breezing well enough on the dirt. He’s not a show-er in the morning, but I’m lucky enough where I can get on him myself. We felt that his works are good enough where we can give him a try,” trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. “Like I say, he’s not a show-er but he does enough where we feel comfortable giving him a try and finding out, sooner than later, if he wants the dirt or not.”
Tarantino began his career for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in Southern California, where he captured his career debut September 20 at Del Mar and came back to finish second by a nose in the October 4 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita – both races at a mile on turf – before being transferred to Brisset.
“It took him a couple weeks to get used to our routine. It’s a little bit different than what Bob Baffert had,” said Brisset, whose trainee has had a series of 4 workouts at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, for his dirt debut. “He was breezing pretty well for a while, and then in his last work before we ran him at Gulfstream, he went a 1/2 (mile) on dirt in 48 (seconds), out in 1:12 and change.”
A decision was made that Tarantino would run in a December 11 optional claiming allowance scheduled for a mile on turf at Gulfstream, rain or shine. The Kentucky-bred colt closely stalked the pace before drawing away to victory.
“We did want to find out if he can run on the dirt, but the rain stopped and the race stayed on the grass,” Brisset said. “He won pretty nicely. He won by 2 (lengths), but I’m pretty sure we didn’t go to the bottom of the horse.”
Tarantino’s dam Without Delay registered her only victory on turf, but the daughter of Seeking the Gold did produce Before You Know It, a daughter of Hard Spun who earned more than $300,000 and was a stakes winner and a graded stakes runner-up on dirt.
“It’s better to find out now if we have a horse for the big one,” Brisset said. “If it doesn’t work out, we know we have a horse for the grass. We know he has a lot of talent.”
Tarantino is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Racing LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm LLC and Robert Masterson.
Edgard Zayas, who was aboard for Tarantino’s victory at Gulfstream, has the return mount.
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