Sole Volante Back On Turf In Saturday’s Tropical Park Derby

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Sole Volante will regroup from the rigors of a Triple Crown campaign with a return to turf in Saturday’s $75,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park.

The Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds, will be accompanied on Saturday’s 11-race program by the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

Patrick Biancone-trained Sole Volante will return from an 11-week freshening since finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and an 11th-place finish following a troubled start in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. Turf will hardly be foreign territory for the 3-year-old gelded son of Karakontie, who launched his career with back-to-back victories over the Gulfstream Park turf course last year.

“Even at the Kentucky Derby we were debating [about running Sole Volante on turf] because they have that race [Grade 2 American Turf} the same day. We were contemplating it,” said Andie Biancone, assistant trainer to her father, Patrick. “We know he’s a turf horse. It’s just because he has such a big heart that he takes to the dirt. We’re really happy to get him back on turf.”

Sole Volante debuted with a three-length romp in his debut at Gulfstream Park West before coming right back to register a two-length score at Gulfstream in the Pulpit Stakes, in which King Guillermo finished third. Having shown himself to be extremely gifted and bred to run long, Sole Volante was given a chance to show what he could do on dirt with an eye toward the Triple Crown.

“When they’re that good that time of year, you have to try them on the dirt,” said Andie Biancone, who was given Sole Volante by her father on her 22nd birthday. “He did really well because he has so much heart, but turf is really his preferred surface.”

Following a solid third in the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream, Sole Volante stamped himself as a Triple Crown candidate with a 2 ½-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. He earned his way into the Kentucky Derby field with a second-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), won by King Guillermo. Unfortunately, the Kentucky Derby was postponed from the first Saturday in May to Sept. 5 and the Preakness (G1) was postponed from the second Saturday in May to Oct. 3, making the Belmont Stakes the first leg of the 2020 Triple Crown. Sole Volante prepped for the Belmont with a triumph in a June 20 stakes-quality allowance at Gulfstream, defeating Jesus’ Team, who would go on to finish second in the Preakness, and Florida Derby runner-up Shivaree.

Although he wasn’t at his best in the Belmont and Kentucky Derby, he provided Andie Biancone memories that will last a lifetime. Unable to travel due to an illness, Patrick Biancone entrusted his daughter to oversee Sole Volante’s training at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.

“It was really cool that my dad put that trust in me,” she said. “It was really cool. I still haven’t processed it.”

Sole Volante breezed six furlongs on turf in 1:11.40 at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach Count, Sunday for his return to turf.

“I think he’s training better than ever,” Andie Biancone said.

Luca Panici has the return mount aboard Sole Volante.

Calumet Farm’s Dack Janiel’s will also make the switch from dirt to turf Saturday to run in the Tropical Park Derby.

“It’s not so much as trying the turf as it is taking advantage of the last race for just 3-year-olds,” trainer Jack Sisterson said.

Dack Janiel’s is coming off a third-place finish behind a victorious Jesus’ Team in the Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Dec. 5. In his prior start, the son of Tonalist showed the way to mid-stretch before finishing third in the Thoroughbred AfterCare Alliance (G2) on the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup program at Keeneland.

Dack Janiel’s has run twice on turf, finishing third at Fair Grounds in January before graduating in an off-the-turf maiden special weight race in his next start. The homebred colt didn’t run on turf again until June, when he showed the way before weakening to third late at Churchill Downs.

Julien Leparoux has the call.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is scheduled to saddle a pair of Tropical Park Derby starters, Robert and Lawana Low’s Colonel Liam, who was beaten by less than a length while finishing fourth in the Aug. 15 Saratoga Derby Invitational; and Waterford Stable LLC’s Summer to Remember, who is twice stakes-placed over Gulfstream’s turf course. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call on Colonel Liam, while Luis Saez has been named to ride Summer to Remember.

Trainer Michael Maker is scheduled to send out four starters in the Tropical Park Derby, which drew 10 entries Sunday. Skychai Racing LLC and Sand Dollar Stable LLC’s Fancy Liquor has the highest profile of the Maker quartet, having captured the American Turf on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. In his most recent start, the son of Lookin At Lucky finished second in the Bryan Station on the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Don Juan Kitten and Gelfenstein Farm and Andy Blanco’s Angelus Warrior, Maker-trained stablemates of Fancy Liquor, finished eighth and 10th, respectively, in the Bryan Station. Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Me and Mr. C., who finished fourth in the Gio Ponti at Aqueduct last time out, rounds out the Maker contingent.

Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Fancy Liquor; Edgard Zayas has the call on Don Juan Kitten; Miguel Vasquez will ride Angelus Warrior; Joe Bravo has the mount aboard Me and Mr. C.

Anderson Stables LLC’s By Your Side, a graded-stakes winner at Saratoga on dirt in 2019, and Walking L Thoroughbreds LLC’s Fighting Seabee, who captured the With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga in 2019; round out the field.

The post Sole Volante Back On Turf In Saturday’s Tropical Park Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.