TORONTO, February 1 – Something Extra, a five-year-old son of Indian Charlie, will make his first start away from Woodbine in Saturday’s $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.
Gail Cox has been conditioning the dark bay gelding, who she owns in partnership with John Menary, at Payson Park Thoroughbred Training Center, in beautiful Indiantown, Florida.
Needless to say, Cox is happy to be soaking up a little sunshine at the facility which boasts a one-mile championship dirt track as well as an irrigated one-mile turf track.
“I’m happy to be missing the cold and snow,” laughed Cox. “Weather-wise, it’s been a really good year. It’s nice here, easy to train.”
With 12 horses, and a pony, in tow, Cox enjoys training at the facility which is also a home-away-from-home for fellow Woodbine-based conditioners Roger Attfield, Ian Black, Carolyn Costigan, Rachel Halden and John Ross.
“The surface at Payson is close to an ideal surface. I really like it,” said Cox.
And Something Extra, who last May made the grade with a sparkling 2 ½-length score in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Connaught Cup, is flourishing over Payson’s main track where he has posted a trio of works in preparation for Saturday’s five-furlong turf sprint.
“Something Extra handles the dirt well, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to run on it yet,” noted Cox. “There is a turf course here and I use it to gallop on. I don’t breeze on it much as it can be a little uneven. Plus, he worked so well on the dirt, I didn’t need to use the turf.”
With a record of 1-2-1 from four career turf starts, Cox is confident of a good showing this weekend.
“He loves the turf,” said Cox. “There is another race at Gulfstream next week that’s seven-eighths on the dirt, but this is a hard race to bypass because I know he really likes the turf.”
Following a strong sophomore campaign in which Something Extra notched a record of 3-2-2 from eight starts, the gelding appeared to on the verge of a breakthrough in 2012.
Something Extra made his four-year-old debut on April 7 in the Jacques Cartier Stakes.
“In his first race, he got in trouble, but it was a great race and he was fourth,” recalled Cox.
Let go at odds of 13-1 in the Connaught Cup, Something Extra avoided traffic trouble by taking the field gate-to-wire, under Eurico Rosa da Silva, for his first stakes score, on May 27.
“He won very easy,” said Cox. “But, he happened to come out of that with a fractured splint bone. We removed the splint bone, but that type of surgery always seems to take a while to get back and we wanted to take every precaution getting him back.”
Following a five-month layoff, Something Extra returned to the races in perfect form taking the Mt. Sassafras, a seven-furlong ‘Poly’ sprint, by three-quarters of a length.
The game gelding completed his abbreviated campaign with an exciting pace duel with champion sprinter Essence Hit Man in the Grade 3 Kennedy Road Stakes.
Something Extra pressed the pace through splits of :21.84 and :44.18, assumed the lead near the top of the lane and battled gamely with eventual winner Bear Tough Tiger, to finish third, defeated 1 ½-lengths in a final running time of 1:08.77.
“He missed the whole middle of the year but we were just happy to have him back,” said Cox. “The last race, they went way too fast on the front end and he hung on to be third. It was a very good race and he came out of it 100 percent, so we decided to run him through the winter a bit.”
Something Extra did enjoy a little ‘R&R’ before returning to training.
“He went to Ocala for a couple weeks, turned out there, and then came to Payson,” said Cox. “He had such a big break in the middle of the year, he didn’t need a rest.”
Saturday’s stake will mark the first start of the year for both horse and conditioner, and if the duo are going to debut with a win, they’ll have to fend off a talented field that includes graded stakes winner Great Attack, Sunshine Millions Sprint winner Off the Jak, as well as Berlino Di Tiger, who has compiled a record of seven wins and two thirds, through nine starts, while racing in Brazil.
“There’s lots of speed in the race,” offered Cox. “I think he’s very happy to sit off the pace as long as it’s fast enough. Maybe that will work to his advantage.”
Fans of Woodbine racing will want to keep tabs on a number of a tracks this weekend as a number of familiar names try their luck in added-money events.
In addition to the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, Woodbine will also be represented in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes by Ian Black’s Really Sharp.
Mark Casse will saddle five stakes starters at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday including Jadira and Floral Sky in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks; Exclusive Love in the Grade 3 Endeavour; and Dynamic Sky and Northern Lion in the Grade 3 Sam. F Davis – – a key prep race on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
The Endeavour will also feature multiple Woodbine stakes winner Blue Heart, who is trained by Brian Lynch.
Fans can watch and wager on all of these races via HorsePlayer Interactive. Recaps and results for all of our travelling trainers are recorded in our weekly Snowbirds Report.
FIELD FOR THE GULFSTREAM PARK TURF SPRINT
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Varsity / Joe Bravo / Christophe Clement
2 / Off the Jak / Jose Alvarez / Shivananda Parbhoo
3 / Something Extra / John Velazquez / Gail Cox
4 / Great Attack / Angel Serpa / Wesley Ward
5 / Silver Cloud / Fernando De La Cruz / Jason DaCosta
6 / Berlino Di Tiger / Paco Lopez / Eduardo Caramori