Flat Out, a back-to-back winner of the G1-Jockey Club Gold Cup, leads a field of 10 in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Feb. 9. The Donn is the 11th race on the Gulfstream card and will go to post at 5:23 pm Eastern. HRTV will have live television coverage.
Flat Out finished fifth in last year's Donn, over four lengths behind winner Hymn Book, and most recently was third to Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He didn't have much of a chance in this year's Classic as the main track at Santa Anita didn't play kindly to horses like Flat Out running from well of the pace. This edition of the Donn, however, looks to have plenty of pace in the early stages to help set things up for this Bill Mott trainee in the final furlongs.
Among the horses joining Flat Out in the Donn are:
- 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy (6/1), most recently second in the G1-Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and third in the G2-Fayette at Keeneland.
- Super Derby winner Bourbon Courage (8/1) who finished third behind Shackleford and Take Charge Indy in the G1-Clark Handicap in his most recent start.
- The lightly raced Graydar (5/1) -- winner of two of his three career starts.
- Csaba (4/1), a winner of four straight races, including the G3-Hal's Hope at Gulftstream and the G3-Hooper at Calder. He's 3-2-0-0 lifetime at Gulfstream.
- Pool Play (10/1), recently second in the G3-Hal's Hope at Gulfstream back on Jan. 13.
- Ultimate Eagle (6/1), recently second in back-to-back graded stakes races out in SoCal (G2-San Pasqual and G2-Citation), and possibly one of the prime speed horses in the field.
For me, Graydar is the wildcard in the field. While he's taking a huge step up in class and he's struggled to stay healthy and on the track over the course of his short career, he's displayed enough talent to suggest he could fit with this group if he's ready to take the next step forward in his development. Additionally, his tactical speed could put him in a perfect stalking position in the early stages of the Donn.
The big issue for me with Graydar isn't his lack of stakes races, it's the jock on his back: Edgar Prado. I'd prefer Pletcher's top rider, Johnny V., in the irons.
The outside horses are in a bit of a bind in this race: at the current meet, post six or higher in races at nine furlongs are 0-fer. In all races on the main track at a mile and a sixteenth or greater: post 7 is 1/33, post 8 is 2/21, post 9 is 0/15, and post 10 is 0/10. Oddly enough, post 12 has one winner from three starts.
Preceding the Donn on Saturday are three graded stakes races: G1-Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, G3-Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, and the G3-Suwannee River on the lawn.
The GP Turf Handicap will feature the final start in the United Stakes for Animal Kingdom. The former Derby winner is expected to travel to Dubai for the World Cup in March, with a possible trip to Royal Ascot for the final start of his career, before heading to stud in Australia.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for Saturday's Grade 1 Donn Handicap.
|G1-Donn Handicap; Post Time: 5:32pm|
|1||Bourbon Courage||J. Castellano||K. Gorder||8/1|
|2||Flat Out||J. Rosario||W. Mott||3/1|
|3||Fast Falcon||J. Lezcano||N. Zito||15/1|
|4||Graydar||E. Prado||T. Pletcher||5/1|
|5||Ultimate Eagle||M. Pedroza||M. Pender||6/1|
|6||Ducduc||J. Alvarez||S. Parbhoo||20/1|
|7||Csaba||L. Saez||P. Gleaves||4/1|
|8||Take Charge Indy||J. Velazquez||P. Byrne||6/1|
|9||Pool Play||M. Mena||M. Casse||10/1|
|10||Citrus Kid||J. Rocco, Jr.||J. Terranova||15/1|