By Richard Rosenblatt
Let’s start at Gulfstream, where Davie, Florida native Tyle Gaffalione plans to spend the winter. He’s been the top jockey in Kentucky the past few years with seven Churchill Downs and four Keeneland meet riding titles.
“Most of my family is here (in Florida). I spent the last three or four days catching up with everyone,” Gaffalione said. “It’s nice seeing the fans come out every day, seeing what I’ve been seeing for the past eight years. It’s special here.”
On Saturday, Gaffalione will be aboard 5-2 second choice Endorsed in the Mr. Prospector (G3), Gulfstream’s first graded stakes of its “Championship Meet.”
Also entered in the Mr. Prospector is Dennis’ Moment, trained by Dale Romans. He was an early Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect after winning the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old, but the son of Tiznow did not fare too well thereafter. He’s back again following an allowance win at Keeneland on Oct. 21.
Moving to Oaklawn Park, longshot Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock tops the field in the inaugural $150,000 Poinsettia Stakes for 3-year-olds.
NYRA’s “America’s Day at the Races” on Fox Sports’ FS2 will have live coverage from Aqueduct from 4-6 p.m. ET. TVG also has live coverage of races from tracks around the country, including Gulfstream, Oaklawn, and Los Alamitos.
Here’s a look at some of Saturday’s races (post times are ET):
$300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds
Post time: 6:59 p.m. (race 9)
Trainer Bob Baffert has two of the five entries in this Kentucky Derby points qualifier – 10-4-2-1 to the first four finishers. The embattled Baffert sends out odds-on favorite Messier and 5-1 choice Barossa.
Also entered are Durante, Slow Down Andy, and Olympic Legend. With Baffert suspended for two years by Churchill Downs, horses in his care are prohibited from earning Derby qualifying points. Baffert was suspended after his Derby winner Medina Spirit – who collapsed and died after a workout on Dec. 6 at Santa Anita — tested positive for a prohibited race-day medication.
$150,000 Poinsettia Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds
Post time: 5:13 p.m. (race 9)
Super Stock returns to the scene of his greatest triumph – the Arkansas Derby at 12-1 odds for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
This time, Super Stock is the 7-5 favorite in a field of seven, which also includes Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas’ 12-1 longshot Ram, a son of American Pharoah who already has run 17 races during his 16-month career.
Super Stock has earned over $1 million and comes into the race off a victory in the Zia Park Derby (G3) at Zia Park on Nov. 23. A son of Dialed In, Super Stock also won the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby on Aug 15 at Ellis Park. He has a career record of 14-4-2-3.
Flash of Mischief is the 5-2 second choice. Trained by Karl Broberg, the Into Mischief colt has finished ahead of Super Stock twice in 2021 – in the Iowa Derby (second) and in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) – also second — and has victories in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby and the $100,000 Delta Mile Stakes.
$100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3), 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds and up
Post time: 4:32 p.m. (race 10)
Dennis’ Moment is the slight favorite over Endorsed in a field of seven.
Trained by Dale Romans, Dennis’ Moment comes into the race of a 7-furlong optional claiming allowance win so the distance here might be just right. Corey Lanerie has the call leaving from post 5.
Endorsed is winless in three starts for trainer Mike Maker after the 5-year-old was claimed for $100,000 out of a third at Saratoga in an optional claiming allowance, but jockey Tyler Gaffalione is optimistic.
“Since Mike took over his training, he’s really coming into his own. He’s had three big performances in his last three races against top-quality horses,” Gaffalione said, which included a fourth in the Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland on Oct. 8. “It seems like he leaves himself with too much to do. I’m hoping the extra difference will help him out and he gets a clean trip.”
However, Endorsed is still without a graded stakes win in 22 career starts.
$100,000 Garland of Roses Stakes, 6 furlongs, 3 and up fillies and mares
Post time: 3:37 p.m. (race 8)
Glass Ceiling is the 6-5 favorite to win this race and give trainer and co-owner Charlton Baker a second straight triumph in the 6-furlong sprint.
He sent out Honor Way to win last year’s edition, and he also won in 2014 with Expression.
Dylan Davis has the call aboard the 4-year-old Glass Ceiling, who comes into the race off a runner-up finish to Lady Rocket in the second division of the Pumpkin Pie Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 31.
“She’s training as forward as she had for her last two (starts),” Baker added. “She’s been doing great since Saratoga.”
Sadie Lady, at 6-1 for trainer Rob Atras, has two stakes wins in 2021, in the Correction at Aqueduct on March 13 and in the Dancin’ Renee at Belmont on June 12. The 5-year-old last race at Saratoga on Aug. 19, finishing fourth of five in the Union Avenue.
“We sent her back to the farm in Florida and gave her about 30 days before she came back up and seemed like her old self again,” said Atras. “She has been breezing really well and we are looking forward to getting her back again. We gave her time last year too and she really responded to it.”