Night Prowler, Dubai Sky Headline Palm Beach
Night Prowler, a son of Giant’s Causeway, was gelded before his racing career got under way, but it led to improvement in his performance.
Trainer Chad Brown credits owner-breeder Paul Pompa, Jr. with making the decision.
“He’s a nice horse. We got him last summer as a 2-year-old and he was training really average,” Brown said. “He was a nervous horse. Mr. Pompa agreed to let us geld the horse. He’s a good horseman, himself. He said, ‘Let’s geld the horse and give him a chance.’”
Despite not showing much interest in running as a colt, Night Prowler has demonstrated a keen competitive spirit as a gelding.
“Gelding doesn’t help every horse," Brown said, "but it helped him.”
Night Crawler, to be ridden by Javier Castellano, is slated to seek his second straight graded-stakes score in the Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park on Saturday It's a 1 1/16-mile turf stake that attracted a field of 11.
In his most recent start, the Kentucky-bred colt closed from well off the pace to capture the Dania Beach at Gulfstream on Jan. 3. Previously, he was forced to swing seven wide into the stretch before launching a rally that fell a head short of catching Brown-trained Chief Kitten in the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 29.
Dubai Sky is entered to seek his second consecutive stakes victory and first graded-stakes success in the Palm Beach. The Bill Mott-trained colt has captured three races in a row. Following a maiden-breaker at Belmont and a first-level optional claiming allowance event at Gulfstream on Dec. 20, the son of Candy Ride made a victorious stakes debut in the Kitten's Joy. Dubai Sky set or pressed the pace throughout the mile turf event before prevailing by a head.
“He doesn’t give you more than he has to, but he always seems to have a little more left,” said Mott, who named John Velazquez to ride again.
Croninthebarbarian, who has been competitive with Night Prowler and Dubai Sky in three straight stakes races, has been entered to seek a breakthrough victory in the Palm Beach.
He was nosed out of a Pulpit Stakes victory by Chief Kitten while finishing a head in front of Night Prowler. He rallied late to finish third behind Night Prowler in the Dania Beach, 1 1/2 length back; and he closed with a rush from far back to finish third in the Kitten’s Joy, less than a length behind victorious Dubai Sky. He won the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile on Oct. 5.
“I think he needs to be closer early. He’s had too much to do in his last couple races,” said trainer Garry Simms’ son and assistant trainer, Zack. “He’s all heart. The horse has a lot of talent, and I think he’s going to continue to get better.”
Croninthebarbarian will be ridden by Julien Leparoux for the first time.
Decision Day, far back in the Holy Bull Stakes, captured the Coronation Futurity over Woodbine’s Polytrack surface in his 2-year-old finale. The Palm Beach will be his first time on turf. Bear’s Personality, a two-time winner on Woodbine’s Polytrack, is also set to make his turf debut Saturday after finishing up the track in his dirt debut in the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.
Divisidero, a nice debut winner at Gulfstream on Feb. 7 and Nutty Futty, a grade II stakes-placed colt, have also been entered to contest the Palm Beach.Call Me Crazy, Felifran, Eh Cumpari and High Noon Rider round out the field.
Edited Gulfstream Park release
Photo by Kenny Martin