Charge It, with Luis Saez aboard, wins comeback at Gulfstream after seven-month layoff
Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Charge It, who has produced flashes of brilliance during his six-race career, is scheduled to make a highly anticipated return to action Saturday in the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Mile.
The one-turn mile for 4-year-olds and up will be one of nine stakes (eight graded) contested on Saturday’s 14-race program that will be headlined by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2).
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Charge It returned from a seven-month layoff to an optional claiming allowance Feb. 5 at Gulfstream, covering 1 1/16 miles in an impressive 1:41.96.
“It was great to get him back. He had been training super into that, and I thought it was a big effort,” Pletcher said.
The 4-year-old son Tapit had been idle since capturing the July 2 Dwyer at Belmont Park by a dazzling 23 lengths.
“We’re trying to figure out a program. We considered some out-of-town options, but we figured he has run well at Gulfstream. and it would make an easy ship from Palm Beach [Downs],” Pletcher said. “We’re thinking maybe down the road a race like the Oaklawn Handicap [April 22] could fit his schedule. We felt like this would be a good segue.”
Charge It graduated by 8 ½ lengths at Gulfstream in his second career start last February before overcoming a starting gate issue to finish second behind White Abarrio in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) in April. The Pletcher trainee finished off the board in the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he encountered some traffic, before rebounding with his spectacular showing in the Dwyer.”
Charge It is scheduled to meet eight rivals in the Gulfstream Park Mile with Luis Saez back aboard.
“I think he’s a really special horse on any surface, but he does like Gulfstream, so it’s good to know that,” Pletcher said.
Trainer Michael Maker has signed up Mark Breen’s Endorsed for a start in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).
Endorsed enters the race off a pair of solid victories, including 2 ¾-length score in the one-turn mile Fred Hooper (G3) on the undercard of the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream.
Endorsed finished fourth in the 2022 Pegasus World Cup before checking in third behind next-out Speaker’s Corner and Fearless in the Gulfstream Park Mile.
Tyler Gaffalione has the call aboard the 7-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro.
Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric’s Simplification, who ran the race of his career a year ago at Gulfstream while capturing the Fountain of Youth, is scheduled to make his first start since finishing off the board in the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1). The Antonio Sano-trained son of Not This Time, who finished a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), is winless in his eight starts since his Fountain of Youth score.
Jose Ortiz, who was aboard for the Fountain of Youth, returns to the saddle.
Arindel’s Octane and Stonehedge LLC’s Dean Delivers, a pair of gritty Florida-breds who have enjoyed success in open company, are scheduled to seek graded-stakes credentials in the Gulfstream Park Mile.
Octane, a 4-year-old son of Brethren, enters Saturday’s race off a second-place finish behind Endorsed in the Fred Hooper. The Carlos David trainee, who won two legs of the 2021 Florida Sire Stakes series, has been in the money in nine of 10 career starts.
Edgard Zayas has the call on Octane.
Dean Delivers, who has been in the money in 10 of 12 career starts, finished made a six-wide sweep to enter contention in the stretch run of the Fred Hooper before settling for third. In his previous start, the son off Cajun Breeze finished second behind Dubai-bound Sibelius in the Mr. Prospector (G3).
The 4-year-old gelding, who finished a close second in last season’s Swale (G3) before finishing fifth after setting the pace in the Fountain of Youth, will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez Saturday.
OGMA Investments LLC and Michael Iavarone’s O Captain, the third-place finisher in last year’s Fountain of Youth who has been on the sidelines for ninth months; Carrie Brogden’s Steal Sunshine, who finished third in the Mr. Prospector (G3) last time out, David Fawkes Racing Inc.’s Noble Drama, a durable multiple-stakes winner with more than $800,0000 in earnings, and R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Nitrous Channel, a lightly raced son of Nyquist who hasn’t finished worse than second in four starts, round out the field.