Trainer Todd Pletcher is having a big meet at Gulfstream Park and sends out Tommy Macho in Saturday’s $150,000 Hal’s Hope (G3), the five-year-old looking to rebound off back to back subpar efforts since returning off the layoff.
The son of Macho Uno ran the best race of his career at Gulfstream Park last February wining the Fred Hooper (G3) at a one mile distance. He breaks from the two post at 9-2 on the morning line and picks up Luis Saez, who rode him in the Fred Hooper.
Through Thursday, Pletcher has won 24 races from 72 starters (33%) and has a good chance to pad those totals with contenders in four races on Saturday.
His main foe in the Hal’s Hope is Mr. Jordan (5-2), winner of the Florida bred Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West in his last outing. The Ed Plesa trainee breaks from the eight post with Joe Bravo picking up the mount.
The Hal’s Hope is one of three graded stakes on an outstanding 12-race card on Saturday. The supporting features are the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (G2) and the $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3).
The Ft. Lauderdale drew a field of 12 led by the Brian Lynch trained Heart to Heart (3-1), winner of the El Prado Stakes over the Gulfstream Park turf in his last outing. He is perfect in three trips over the turf here.
The Marshua’s River kicks off the stakes action and drew a field of eight fillies and mares along with two main track only entrants.
The Pletcher trained Isabella Sings is the 9-5 morning line favorite. The mare won the My Charmer Handicap (G3) on Nov. 26 in her last outing.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 11 The Hal’s Hope G3 (Post time 5:05 ET)
2 Tommy Macho 9-2
8 Mr. Jordan 5-2
3 Bird Song 6-1
5 Ami’s Flatter 8-1
Tommy Macho won the Fred Hooper (G3) over the main track here at a mile last February and earned a career top speed figure in a good looking effort, drawing away to win by 3 ¾ lengths. An eight-month layoff followed and he returns in a tough spot, checking in fifth in the Kelso Handicap (G2) and then dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth in the Richard W. Small at Laurel Park at nine furlongs.
He has won at nine furlongs but the cut back here to a one turn mile should suit this guy. Pletcher has been on a nice roll at the meeting, hitting at a 33% clip overall. The five-year-old reunites with Saez who was aboard for his Hooper win.
Mr. Jordan returns off a two-month break after winning the Millions Classic Preview at GP West in a sharp effort. He really did not beat much in that outing, five coming back run again and the best finish among them was a fourth.
Plesa elected to skip the Sunshine Millions Classic with this guy as stablemate Awesome Slew is being pointed to the race. The gelding landed in the money in eight of his nine starts last year, winning his last pair, but is 0 for 5 over the main track here including a fifth in this race last year, but he did come back a week later to earn a career top speed fig in a runner up finish in the Sunshine Millions Classic. He fits with his best but may end up a light price.
Bird Song took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-2 optional claimers last out at Churchill Downs earning a career top speed fig at 6-5. His lone stakes try came in the King’s Bishop (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs last August where he was not a threat in an eighth-place finish.
The colt has been working sharply at Palm Meadows since his last start and should be in the mix early in this spot. There is some other speed in here and this guy could get a good trip sitting just off the pace.
WIN: Tommy Macho to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 2,8 / 2,3,5,8
TRIFECTA: 2,8 / 2,3,5,8 / 2,3,5,7,8
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