Submitted by Jerry Antonucci on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Bad Debt Gets Credit Going Into $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bad Debt is scheduled to make his 48th career start in Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park, but the many miles he’s logged over turf courses throughout the east coast haven’t caught up with the resilient 7-year-old gelding.
“He ran his lifetime best the race before his last one, so I’d have to say there hasn’t been any deterioration of his form right now,” trainer Michael Trombetta said. Two starts back, Bad Debt turned in an explosive performance at Gulfstream to win the $125,000 Millions Turf Preview, previously named the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup, by 6 ½ lengths. “We’ve been very fortunate. He’s won the race three years in a row, twice at Calder, then they moved it over to Gulfstream and changed the name,” Trombetta said. “To do it three years in a row is quite remarkable.” Claimed for $35,000 by Trombetta in 2010, Bad Debt has earned $700,000 in purses while finishing first, second or third in 37 of his 47 starts. In his most recent start at Calder, Bad Debt hit the board in the Tropical Park Handicap (G3), finishing third, 1 ¾ lengths behind victorious Speaking of Which. “He was coming off a top effort. Putting two of them together in a row becomes a little harder,” Trombetta said. “He had no real excuse.”
Joel Rosario, who was aboard in the Turf Preview, returns to the saddle for 1 1/8-mile turf stakes, one of six stakes for Florida-breds to be run Saturday for purses totaling $1.3 million.
Bad Debt is one of 10 horses entered for the Turf, which also attracted Tiz Gianni, Spring Up, Blameshifter, Hobbs, Star Channel, Tune Me In, Bim Bam, Racing Aptitude and Old Time Hockey.
Spring Up and Old Time Hockey have both shipped in from Santa Anita for the Turf. Spring Up will be making his stakes debut while seeking his fifth victory in seven starts. The 4-year-old son of Spring at Last was claimed by trainer John Sadler for $20,000 off a maiden victory over Del Mar’s synthetic course. Since being switched to turf three starts ago, Spring Up finished second at a mile before registering back-to-back victories at the Turf distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Old Time Hockey, trained by Tom Proctor, broke his maiden at Gulfstream in 2012 and is a Grade 2 winner at Del Mar.
Hobbs, a multiple stakes winner trained by Kathy Mongeon, had been running in stakes in New Jersey and New York before returning to South Florida to finish off the board following a troubled trip in the El Prado at Gulfstream on Dec. 28. “He just couldn’t get out,” Mongeon said. “The horse was so frustrated after the race.”
Hobbs also has a victory over the Gulfstream course to his credit, an optional claiming allowance triumph last February. “I like the mile and an eighth the best. I like it when there’s some pace in front of him so he can relax. If he goes to the front early, he doesn’t have a kick,” said Mongeon. “If you can get him off the bit and bury him behind a couple horses and swing him out wide in the stretch, that’s his best trip.”
Wishing Gate Heads East For Filly & Mare Turf
Florida-bred Wishing Gate has spent most of her career in California for owner-breeder Glen Hill Farm, but she will make her first start in the Sunshine State on Saturday in the $150,000 Filly & Mare Turf. The bay filly has been competing with the best out west, winning the San Clemente Handicap (G2) at Del Mar and the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. She was also a close second in the Del Mark Oaks (G1), and was beaten only 1 ½ lengths when sixth in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) last out at Betfair Hollywood Park on December 1.
“We were looking for something for her after the first of the year, and I thought it would be a good chance to get her back to Florida,” trainer Tom Proctor said. “I thought could run her one time and let her spend a little time on the farm after the race, and then we’ll have her for the rest of the year. She’ll go to Glen Hill for 30 days after Saturday.”
Wishing Gate is the second foal from Rich in Spirit, who won a pair of graded events and over $600,000 under Proctor’s tutelage. The 4-year-old has followed in her mother’s hoofprints.
“I had her mother and she made a lot of money on the grass, and Wishing Gate always did look like a grass filly,” Proctor added. “I always thought she was pretty nice. She’s been doing well and she got in last night along with Old Time Hockey [an entrant in the Sunshine Millions Turf].”
Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens, who returned to race-riding last spring, will ride both Wishing Gate and Old Time Hockey for Glen Hill and Proctor. Drawn in post three, Wishing Gate will be the 121-pound highweight in the nine-furlong Filly & Mare Turf.
Among her rivals is Parranda, a 5-year-old mare who has won four of nine starts on the Gulfstream turf course. The Lone Stable representative competed at Monmouth over the summer when she notched a runner-up finish in the Omnibus Stakes, but returned to her native Florida to annex two state-bred stakes events over this course. She is coming off a troubled fourth in the My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Calder on December 7.
“The pace was extremely slow [in the My Charmer] and the horse on the lead didn’t stop,” trainer Rodolfo Garcia explained. “She has shown that she really handles the ground at Gulfstream well.”
One of Parranda’s recent wins at Gulfstream was the Millions Filly & Mare Turf Preview Stakes on November 9. Finishing close behind her in second and third that day were Silsita and Millennia, both of whom will be back in the same starting gate on Saturday.
The Filly & Mare Turf is completed by Sharapova Slams, Nicki Starshine, Creative License and E B Ryder.