Phipps Stable and Claiborne Farm’s Performer, who captured the Jan. 23 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3), will seek to produce an encore performance in the Feb. 27 $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the 5-year-old son of Speightstown is slated to top a field of seven older horses in the one-turn mile event.
Joel Rosario worked out a winning trip aboard Performer after breaking from the rail post position in the Hooper, also run at a one-turn mile. Pinned down on the rail along the backstretch, Performer was swung to the outside on the turn into the homestretch and out-dueled Eye of a Jedi to the wire to win by a neck.
“He gutted it out pretty good,” McGaughey said. “He was down on the inside. Joel looked up and saw those horses on the lead were going easy, so that’s when he eased him to the outside. I don’t think it killed him to win, but that horse that finished second is a pretty darn good horse.
“He (Performer) seems to have come out of the race good. He had a very good work the other day.”
After finishing third in his November 2018 debut, the Phipps Stable’s homebred won five races in a row, including the 1 1/8-mile Discovery Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack. His streak was broken with a third-place finish over a sealed sloppy track in the Dec. 5 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct before getting back to winning form in the Hooper.
Jose Ortiz, who will ride McGaughey-trained Greatest Honour in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), is scheduled to ride Performer for the first time Saturday.
R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, and Hugh Lynch’s Tax is scheduled to return to action in the Gulfstream Park Mile after finishing 10th in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup International (G1) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream.
The Danny Gargan-trained 5-year-old gelding previously captured the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) by 4 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream in his previous start.
Junior Alvarado has the call aboard the son of Arch.
Trainer Steve Budhoo’s Eye of a Jedi, an ultra-consistent 6-year-old gelding who seems to be getting better with age, will seek to turn the tables on Performer. The son of Eye of the Leopard had finished a late-closing second behind Tax in the Harlan’s Holiday prior to his narrow loss to Performer.
Marcos Meneses has the return mount aboard Eye of a Jedi.
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 27, 2021, Race 9
- Grade II
- 4 yo’s & up
- 3:27 PM (local)