Trainer Todd Pletcher has been to the winner’s circle of the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park a record six times, winning the race five years in a row from 2003 to 2007. Jockey John Valezquez has had the mount in five of those six races.
Tomorrow Pletcher sends Valezquez and Travelin Man, the 5-2 lukewarm morning line favorite, to the starting gate in the 58th running of the $150,000 guaranteed stakes race.
Last month at Gulfstream, Travelin Man romped to a 7 ¼ - length victory in his maiden debut covering 6-furlongs in 1:09.09, earning a 105 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort.
Despite this being only the second start for Travelin Man, Pletcher must be confident about his potential to run a good race and stretch out to 7-furlongs. His sire, Trippi, was a 7-furlong specialist who won the Vosburgh Stakes (G1), Riva Ridge Stakes (G2), Tom Fool Handicap (G2) and Swale Stakes (G3). Trippi even had enough in the tank to stretch out to win the 9-furlong Flamingo Stakes (G3).
Trippi is also the sire of potential Kentucky Derby contender Gourmet Dinner, winner of the 7-furlong Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes and the 8 ½ - furlong Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3).
Eight of the 10 horses entered in the Hutcheson have won on the lead and it will be interesting to see how this race finally shapes up.
Three long shots I like are Crossbow (5-1), Madman Diaries (6-1) and Manicero (12-1).
Crossbow, the morning line third-choice, has never been off the board in three starts and he’s already proven at 7-furlongs. In his last race, Crossbow vied for the lead with Sovereign Default and prevailed in the final strides for the win covering 7-furlongs in 1:22.86.
That time is competitive with previous editions of the Hutcheson and if Crossbow improves or repeats that performance he should be a factor.
Trainer Wesley Ward drops Madman Diaries back to a sprint and sends him to the starting gate with a 3-2-0 record in six starts. In his only off the board finish, Madman Diaries finished fourth to the promising Pluck and Soldat in the 8-furlong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) last November at Churchill Downs.
Madman Diaries has not raced in over three months. But, despite the layoff, he has been working out good and two back-to-back bullet work outs indicates that he may be ready to run a good race.
Manicero comes into the Hutcheson with four straight wins in five starts. In his maiden debut last October, Manicero finished third but was disqualifed and placed fourth.
Manicero is also proven at 7-furlongs with an 8 ¼ - length win in the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes at Calder and a one-half length win in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Good luck with your picks!