June 22, 2024

Largent back on playing field for Tropical Turf

Largent wins the 2020 Fort Lauderdale (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photos)

Tackled late in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) when last seen nearly a year ago, Largent suits up for his comeback in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The ultra-consistent son of Into Mischief could use the mile affair as a springboard to the Jan. 29 renewal of the Pegasus Turf, as connections explained to track publicity.

“We felt like we’re cutting it a little close in terms of how cranked up he is,” trainer Todd Pletcher said, “but with this race being three weeks before the Pegasus Turf, it could put us in a position to have some options, so we decided to give it a go.

“He’s been training well like he always does and he’s always shown an affinity for the Gulfstream course. He’s always seemed to do well over it. I think it’s a good starting point. He’s shown he’s pretty versatile and can handle multiple distances.”

Aron Wellman of co-owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners emphasized that the Tropical Turf will bring Largent on fitness-wise, and possibly set him up for the Pegasus.

“I’d be lying to you if I said we thought we had him 100% cranked up off such a long layoff,” Wellman said. “But this race is coming up in such a way that the timing is right, and the distance is probably right to get him going. While we’re certainly not, by any means, trying to get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s not out of the question that if he were to run very well and emerge from this race well, that in three weeks’ time the Pegasus could come back into play.

“We’re not going to call our shot by any stretch of the imagination. The main thing is that this is probably the most logical launching point for him, even though he’s probably not entirely tight for this outing.”

Largent has compiled a 10-6-4-0 mark for Eclipse and Twin Creeks Racing Stables, highlighted by victories in the 2020 Ft. Lauderdale (G2) as well as a pair of restricted stakes at Colonial Downs and Laurel. The Virginia-bred pounced in the stretch of the Pegasus Turf, only to have stablemate Colonel Liam deny him by a neck. Luis Saez will guide the tactical gelding from the rail.

Chad Brown sends out Value Proposition, who finally scored overdue stakes wins in last fall’s Red Bank S. at Monmouth and the Oyster Bay S. at Belmont Park. The cutback to six furlongs for the Nov. 27 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship last out was a bit too sharp, and he wound up fifth. But the Dansili half-brother to French and English highweight Speedy Boarding should be back in business here with Irad Ortiz.

Grade 3 veteran Flying Scotsman, fifth off the layoff in last year’s Tropical Turf, has the benefit of an allowance tightener this time. Although the Calumet homebred hasn’t earned a stakes credit since he was awarded the 2019 Woodchopper S., trainer Jack Sisterson is hopeful that the pace factor can move forward second off the bench.

Phat Man is better known as a dirt performer, notably taking the 2020 Fred W. Hooper (G3) for trainer Kent Sweezey. But the son of Munnings had raced on turf for original trainer Joe Sharp. While winless from five tries on the grass, he did place twice, including when runner-up in the 2017 Super Derby. Phat Man fired a bullet half in :46.90 over the Palm Meadows turf on New Year’s Eve.

Two class-climbers competed in the Dec. 4 Claiming Crown – Clear Vision, an even second in the 1 1/16-mile Emerald, and Belgrano, seventh as the favorite in the five-furlong Canterbury. Belgrano has since finished a troubled seventh in a starter allowance on the Tapeta Dec. 29. Call Curt, whose two wins have come in maiden claiming and starter allowance company, exits a third in a course-and-distance allowance.

Post time for the Tropical Turf, the 8TH race on Saturday, is 3:37 p.m. (ET).