Team Clement Seeking More ‘Blacktype’ in G3 Tropical Turf
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Given its recent success in the race, Team Clement is understandably excited about running Jump Sucker Stable’s multiple-Grade 2 winner Blacktype in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf at Gulfstream Park.
The 36th running of the Tropical Turf for 3-year-olds and up and the 33rd renewal of the $100,000 My Charmer (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at one mile on the grass, are among five stakes worth $500,000 on the 11-race program.
Also on tap are a trio of dirt stakes – the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000 Rampart (G3) at one mile and the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) at six furlongs, each for fillies and mares 3 and older.
First-race post time is noon.
The Tropical Turf had been held at Gulfstream Park West since its inception in 1979, run as the Christmas Day Handicap through 1992. Trainer Christophe Clement has won four of the past five editions of the race, including last year with Lubash. The only exception came in 2015, when he did not enter a horse.
Clement’s candidate to continue the streak is Blacktype, a 6-year-old gelding bred in France that already owns graded-stakes victories in the 1 1/8-mile Knickerbocker (G2) Oct. 9 at Belmont Park and the one-mile Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2) in the fall of 2016 at Laurel Park.
In between those wins, Blacktype notched one victory from seven starts with one second and three thirds, and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the one-mile Artie Schiller, beaten less than three lengths, Nov. 18 at Aqueduct.
“He’s coming off two wins in New York very impressively. The last race he was a bit unlucky,” said Clement’s son and assistant, Miguel. “We had a few things going against us last time. He was conceding a lot of weight and he had a very wide trip.
“He has done so well since the Artie Schiller, where I think he ran a winning race,” he added. “We hope he puts it all together this time. He’s training well and he looks great, so we’ll see. I’m excited to see him run.”
Blacktype will carry co-topweight of 123 pounds, including jockey Joel Rosario, from Post 7 in the field of nine. It will be the first race at Gulfstream for Blacktype, who has a record of 9-3-8 from 29 starts, earning nearly $750,000 in purse earnings while running in New York, Maryland, Kentucky and New Jersey since arriving from France in the fall of 2014.
“It’s great that he’s able to run in Florida, especially since some of the owners will be able to be there to see him. It’s amazing he’s never run in Florida. He’s always been running well; we’ve just kept him in New York and last year we pulled the plug on him,” Clement said. “I don’t think there’s a reason why he wouldn’t run well.”
Also in the Tropical Turf are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple graded-stakes winner Camelot Kitten, who finished behind Blacktype in each of his past two starts and is approaching $1 million in career earnings; All Included, winner of the Appleton (G3) April 1 at Gulfstream; Tower of Texas, a multiple Grade 2 winner at Woodbine racing for just the fourth time outside of Canada in his 30th start; and Le Ken, a two-time Group 1 winner in Argentina who is winless in three North American starts.
All Included has raced just four times in 2017 and not since finishing eighth after bobbling at the break of the one-mile Red Bank (G3) May 27 at Monmouth Park. He won the one-mile Appleton after finishing third by a length but promoted to second via disqualification in the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) Feb. 11.
“It seems like he’s freshened up nicely,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s always run well at Gulfstream, so we’re looking forward to getting him back.”
Completing the field are multiple-stakes winner Western Reserve, most recently third in the Autumn (G2) Nov. 12 over Woodbine’s synthetic surface; Galton, third in the 2016 Woodford (G3); and stakes-placed One Go All Go and Shakhimat.
April Gaze Making Return to the Grass in G3 My Charmer
Karl and Cathi Glassman’s April Gaze, worse than third just once in five starts this year, will both stretch out and switch surfaces when she makes her graded-stakes debut in the $100,000 My Charmer (G3).
Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., 4-year-old April Gaze returns to the grass for the first time since last August, when she ran a distant seventh in the one-mile Drumtop Stakes at Suffolk Downs. She was fourth in her other two turf tries, both in stakes, at 5 ½ and 8 ½ furlongs.
“She’s run well enough on the grass for me with the exception of her very last start on it,” Plesa said. “I’ve always thought she’s handled it well enough that she deserves an opportunity. We’re trying the turf. We just think it’s better for her.”
April Gaze has made each of her last six starts on dirt, the past five at sprint distances,. She took the lead at the top of the stretch and dueling through the lane before falling a half-length shy in the seven-furlong Sunshine Millions Distaff Preview Nov. 11 at Gulfstream Park West.
“She overachieved in that last race and she came out of the race fine,” Plesa said. “I don’t need to find out whether she can handle the turf because I’m convinced that she can. It’s just getting her over there in the best possible shape.
“If she takes to the turf like we’re hoping, that opens up a whole new dimension for her,” he added. “She ran fourth one time going a mile and a sixteenth and this is only a mile, so it’s a little bit shorter. In that race I felt that the last sixteenth of a mile taxed her a little bit where if it would have been a mile she would have certainly hit the board, in my opinion. I would like to get some black type on her in a race like this because that will help her later on.”
Edgard Zayas, up for the last start, retains the mount from Post 1 of nine at 119 pounds.
Also looking to make the grade in the My Charmer is Tango Uniform Racing, The Elkstone Group and Highclere America’s Stormy Victoria, fourth in last year’s My Charmer. Her lone triumph this year came in her only start outside of stakes company, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Sept. 22 at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old mare is coming off three straight sprints and wheels back 20 days after finishing second by 2 ½ lengths in the Autumn Days Stakes Nov. 26 over the Aqueduct turf. Stormy Victoria also ran third in the Nassau (G2) on a yielding turf at Woodbine May 27.
“She came out of her last race very well. We’re running her a bit quick back, plus the shipping, but she seems to be in great form. She’s been extremely consistent. I’m excited to see her run because she’s doing so well,” assistant trainer Miguel Clement said. “I’m excited. It’s a tough race but nevertheless the filly is doing very well and that’s why we’re being a bit aggressive running her back so quickly.”
“She’s been in the stable for the last two years and she’s been a great purchase,” he added. “She’s been paying her way. She’s everything you like in a racehorse – she’s tough, she’s consistent and she’s as game as they come.”
Rounding out the field are Stuart Janney III homebred On Leave, whose four stakes wins include the 2016 Sands Point (G2); Grade 3-placed Defiant Honor, winner of the Aug. 24 Riskaverse at Saratoga; Gianna’s Dream, exiting back-to-back Remington Park stakes victories; Josdesanimaux, winner of the 2016 Panama City over Gulfstream’s turf; Inside Out, Pancake and Southern Gem.