Super Ocho trains at Keeneland in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint
Well-traveled Super Ocho is scheduled to make his local debut in Saturday’s $125,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint. Since arriving from Chile is early 2022, Matriarca’s 5-year-old Chilean-bred has raced from coast to coast with stops in the Midwest.
The Gulfstream Park Sprint headlines a 12-race program at Gulfstream Park, where trainer Amador Sanchez is scheduled to saddle Super Ocho for a talent-deep edition of the six-furlong dash for older horses.
“It’s a favorable race for Super Ocho. The field is tough but Super Ocho likes Gulfstream Park’s dirt track,” said Sanchez through an interpreter. “He was trained at Gulfstream before his campaign.”
Super Ocho’s connections are hoping Super Ocho brings his ‘A’ Game into the Gulfstream Park Sprint.
“If he wins or runs a big one, we are exploring a possible trip to Dubai,” Sanchez said. “If not, he will stay here and we will be evaluating a possible campaign in the U.S. in the short term.
“If he continues performing strong, an ultimate goal would be trying again the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”
A multiple Group 2 stakes winner in Chile, Super Ocho has held his own against some of the top sprinters in the U.S. since winning his stateside debut by 10 ¼ lengths at Mountaineer Park June 22. The son of Dubai Sky, a three-time winner on turf in Chile, shipped to Del Mar for the Green Fish Handicap (G3) to make an unsuccessful U.S. grass debut, in which he was bumped early before making a bid into the stretch, only to fade out of the money.
Super Ocho experienced a very troubled trip Oct. 1 while finishing a solid third in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2), encouraging his connections to give the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland a try. Super Ocho set the pace into the stretch before faltering to sixth, four lengths behind victorious Elite Power.
Super Ocho has made two starts in 2023, both at Delta Downs, where he finished second in the Sam’s Town Stakes before registering an impressive 5 ¾-length front-running optional claiming allowance romp Jan. 27.
Super Ocho tuned up for Saturday’s local debut with a sharp half-mile workout last Saturday in 47.48 seconds, the second fastest clocking of 117 workouts recorded at the distance.
“Super Ocho worked as we expected. Edgar Perez, who rode him, said he was fantastic,” Sanchez said. “He came out of the work very well.”
Emisael Jaramillo has been named to ride Super Ocho for the first time Saturday.
“Emisael is an outstanding rider on horses with speed,” Sanchez said. “We are expecting a solid performance.”
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Candy Man Rocket enters the Gulfstream Park Sprint in sharp form for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The 5-year-old son of Candy Ride, who was on the 2021 Triple Crown trail after winning the Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, returned from an eight-month layoff to capture a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream by 3 ½ lengths on the frontend Feb. 5, 2022 before going back to the sidelines. He came off a year layoff to score a 2 ¼-length front-running victory in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Jan. 21.
Junior Alvarado has the return mount on Candy Man Rocket.
Lea Farms LLC’s Lightening Larry, one of four graded-stakes winners in a field of seven, is also in winning form, coming off a front-running 2 ½-length victory in the six-furlong Sunshine Sprint at Gulfstream Jan. 14. The 4-year-old son of Uncaptured captured the Chick Lang (G3) on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico in May.
Jose Morelos has the return call on Lightening Larry.
Nicholas Cammarano Jr.’s Scaramouche is set for his 2023 debut after concluding his last campaign with a disappointing performance in his turf debut in the Janus at Gulfstream Park Dec. 24. Two starts earlier, the Guadalupe Preciado-trained 4-year-old son of Munnings captured the Gallant Bob (G2) at Parx with Lightening Larry one of his victims.
Paco Lopez is named to ride Scaramouche for the first time since guiding the 4-year-old gelding to a dominating allowance win at Parx last August.
Russell Stagg’s Doc Amster, who finished fifth in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga last summer; Stonehedge LLC’s Cajun’s Magic, runner-up to Lightening Larry in the Sunshine Sprint; and Gilman Hallenbeck’s Uncle Ernie, who finished fourth in the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream last time out; round out the field.