The Todd Pletcher trained Colonel Liam heads a solid group of 10 three-year-olds that go Saturday in the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The colt is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Saratoga Derby Invitational in his stakes debut. The colt was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.
Pletcher also will saddle Summer to Remember (8-1) who makes his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Audubon at Churchill Downs in June.
Sole Volante (4-1) returns to turf after coming up short in a sixth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and a 11th place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The Patrick Biancone trainee won the Pulpit on turf last November on turf in his first start against winners.
“Even at the Kentucky Derby we were debating [about running Sole Volante on turf] because they have that race [Grade 2 American Turf} the same day. We were contemplating it,” said Andie Biancone, assistant trainer to her father, Patrick. “We know he’s a turf horse. It’s just because he has such a big heart that he takes to the dirt. We’re really happy to get him back on turf.”
The race is one of three stakes on the Saturday afternoon card. A field of 12 will line up in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks. The stakes action kicks off with the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile marathon on turf that drew a field of 11.
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Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 8 The Tropical Park Derby (3:40 ET)
6 Colonel Liam 5-2
9 Fancy Liquor 7-2
1 Summer to Remember 8-1
5 Sole Volante 4-1
The Pletcher trainee makes his first start since running a close up fourth in the Saratoga Derby Invitational at Saratoga going 1 3/16 miles, a race that came up very tough. The winner Domestic Spending came back to win the Hollywood Derby (G1) in his next start, the runner up Gufo won the Belmont Derby (G1) and then was third beaten a neck in the Hollywood Derby and eighth place finisher Get Smokin returned to win the Hill Prince (G2) in his next start. Our top pick was a $1.2 million Ocala purchase who beat Alw-1 company two back in his first trip on turf and earned a 100 Beyer for the win. This guy looks as if he still has plenty of upside and has been prepping at Palm Beach Downs for his return. The barn is 23% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day break.
This colt dueled for the early lead and battled on gamely to come up just a half-length short last out in the Bryan Station at Keeneland over good ground. The Maker trainee won the American Turf (G2) two back at Churchill Downs and won the Caesars three back at Indian Grand over yielding ground. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and the cut back here to 1 1/16 miles suits him.
Summer to Remember
The son of Summer Front is also sent out by the Pletcher barn. The colt makes his first start since fading to finish sixth in the Audubon in June at Churchill Downs. Two back he ran third in the English Channel over the turf here. The winner of that race as Gufo who won the Kent (G3) in his next start and also won the Belmont Derby (G1). Three back here the colt was fourth behind Decorated Invader. The Pletcher barn is 27% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. He is capable of better than his last and is going to end up a fair price in this spot.