When you check the entries for Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Grade 1), you’ll find Animal Kingdom, the winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, and Point of Entry, a winner of three Grade 1 turf stakes last year.
Turn to the $500,000 Donn Handicap (Grade 1), and you’ll see what trainer Phil Gleaves says is “probably the strongest field we’ve had in the Donn in recent years.”
Gleaves has one of the Donn favorites in Csaba, a 4-year-old colt that has won two stakes races at Gulfstream this season.
The Donn is 11/8 miles on dirt for 4-year-olds and up.
Its 10-horse field includes Take Charge Indy, winner of last year’s Florida Derby, Flat Out, the third-place finisher in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, and four other horses that won graded stakes in 2012.
Gulfstream’s Saturday card also has the Gulfstream Park Sprint (Grade 2), at seven furlongs on dirt for 4-year-olds and up, and the Suwannee River at 1 1/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares 4 years old and up.
The Gulfstream Park Turf, at 1 1/8 miles, is the eighth race, with scheduled post time of 4:01 p.m.
Animal Kingdom has name recognition because he is one of just two of this century’s Kentucky Derby winners to race as a 5-year-old. Funny Cide, in 2003, was the other.
Animal Kingdom and the 5-year-old Point of Entry will meet for the first time in the Gulfstream Park Turf, a 1 1/8-mile race with a six-horse field,
He has four wins and four second-place finishes in a nine-race career that has been interrupted several times by injury.
John Velazquez has been the regular jockey for both horses. On Saturday, he will ride Point of Entry, the horse on which he has the more extensive history, and Joel Rosario will be on Animal Kingdom.
Trainers Graham Motion of Animal Kingdom and Shug McGaughey of Point of Entry are using Saturday’s race as a chance for another Grade 1 win and as a prep for separate races on March 30 in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai.
Factors in the Donn could include post positions and the readiness of contenders Flat Out, Take Charge Indy and Bourbon Courage that have not raced since November.
Flat Out’s Breeders’ Cup race was Nov. 3 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. That followed his win Sept. 29 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Gulfstream linemaker Chuck Streva made Flat Out his 3-1 morning line favorite based on those two races and trainer Bill Mott’s strong record with horses coming off layoffs.
Csaba is next at 4-1. Graydar, a fast-improving 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, is at 5-1.
Take Charge Indy, who usually races near the lead, has the eighth post, which is not favorable because of a short run to the first turn. He is 6-1 in the morning line.
On Jan. 13 at Gulfstream, Csaba and regular jockey Luis Saez fought through traffic in the stretch and beat the late-running Pool Play by a neck in the one-mile Hal’s Hope (Grade 3).
Pool Play is back for the Donn, with trainer Mark Casse and jockey Miguel Mena.
Bahamian Squall and Fort Loudon head an eight-horse field in the Gulfstream Park Sprint.
The Suwannee River has the first three finishers from the Marshua’s River (Grade 3, at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream on Jan. 5) They are Hard Not to Like, Channel Lady and Leading Astray.
Pick 6 Carryover
On Saturday, Gulfstream will have a carryover of $1,802,706 on its Pick 6 bet on the last six races.
The bet is 10 cents only, with multiple horses permitted in each race.
Gulfstream pays out the entire Pick 6 pool, including the carryover, only on days when there is just one winning ticket.
When there are multiple winners, such as Friday, they divide 60 percent of the day’s new bets. The other 40 percent goes into the carryover.