Saturday’s Palm Beach Stakes will once again provide a look at some up-and-coming turf stars when eight 3-year-olds go to post in the 1 1/16th-mile event with horses entered from the barns of, among others, Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin, David Fawkes and Mark Casse.
Over the past 33 years, Gulfstream Park's Palm Beach Stakes has been a launching pad for many of racing’s future graded-stakes stars – from Kitten’s Joy to Divisidero to Prince Arch to Go Between to Paddy O’Prado to Maraud.
One of the likely favorites on Saturday is A Thread of Blue. Trained by McLaughlin, the son of Hard Spun comes into the Palm Beach having won three of his last four starts, including most recently the Feb. 3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream by open lengths. Owned by Leonard Green, A Thread of Blule has won his last two turf races in front-running style under Luis Saez. The colt broke his maiden gate-to-wire on Belmont’s main track last October before coming from off the pace to finish third in the Awad on Nov. 4 at Aqueduct.
“He’s training very well and raring to go,” McLaughlin said. “He had things his own way last time, so it worked out great for us. He has speed. He doesn’t have to be on the lead, but if he breaks well and he’s there, great. If somebody else goes, we can sit second or third. He’s a very nice horse. He’s training well. He loves the turf course here, two-for-two on it, so we look forward to the race.”
Saez will ride once again.
Bill Mott will send out Casa Creed. After racing four times on the dirt as a 2-year-old, Casa Creed won his 3-year-old debut on the turf in Gulfstream’s Kitten’s Joy Jan. 5 before finishing a troubled sixth last time out in the Dania Beach.
“He got off bad in his last start and nobody was really making up a lot of ground,” Mott said “It was just an off day for him. Hopefully, he’s got a better one in him than he did in his last performance. However, he did win on the race track earlier in the meet.”
John Velazquez will ride.
Louder Than Bombs, owned by Sandra New, exits a second-place finish in the Dania Beach after finishing fourth in the Kitten’s Joy for trainer Fawkes. The son of Violence will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
King Ottokar steps into graded-stakes company for the first time after breaking his maiden on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream at a mile on the turf. Julien Leparoux gets the mount for trainer Casse and BG Stables.