They’re both Kentucky-bred three-year-olds colts owned in full or in partnership by Coolmore, but No Nay Never and Havana have taken, and will continue to after Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Swale at Gulfstream Park, vastly divergent paths.
After taking a 4 1/2-furlong maiden event last April at Keeneland by two lengths, No Nay Never was sent to Europe by his progressive conditioner, Wesley Ward, where the Scat Daddy colt captured both the Norfolk Stakes at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting, and the Prix Morny at Deauville, France’s leading summertime dash for juveniles.
Meanwhile, the Todd Pletcher-trained Havana looked like a champion-in-waiting coming down the stretch in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last November. The 5-2 favorite off a taxing victory in the Champagne at Belmont Park over the highly-regarded Honor Code, Havana appeared to have overcome a wide draw and trip when opening up a two-length lead in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile under hand encouragement, but relaxed enough to get passed by New Year’s Day in the final yards.
From a class perspective, the other five Swale entrants have form to find. These include Prudhoe Bay and Breitling Flyer, who were separated by a neck at the finish of the $50,000 OBS Sprint Championship at the Ocala Training Center on January 21.
Following the Swale, a dozen three-year-olds will line up in the Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Mr Speaker, an impressive 2 3/4-length winner of the Dania Beach in December for Shug McGaughey, will attempt to rebound off a modest seventh-place finish in the January 25 Holy Bull on dirt. The son of Pulpit was a well-beaten seventh that day, but adds Lasix for the Palm Beach.
Trainer Chad Brown saddles two leading contenders in Storming Inti and Pleuven. Storming Inti enters on a three-race win streak in $100,000 stakes — the Awad at Belmont, and the Pulpit and Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream — while the French import Pleuven was a closing third to Mr Speaker in the Dania Beach in his U.S. debut.
Other probable contenders in the 12-horse field are Cabo Cat, who placed in both the Dania Beach and Kitten’s Joy for Mark Hennig; Gala Award, a $1.55 million yearling purchase who broke his maiden at Gulfstream in January for Pletcher; and Can’thelpbelieving, a course-and-distance maiden winner for Graham Motion January 11.
2014 G2 $200,000 Swale Stakes Information
Date: Saturday, March 1
Where: Gulfstream Park, Florida
Post Time: 5:10 p.m. ET/2:10 p.m. PT
Distance: 7 Furlongs Dirt
Conditions: THREE YEAR OLDS
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Field and odds for the 2014 G2 $200,000 Swale Stakes
|1||Havana||3 C||L||123||Velazquez John R.||Pletcher Todd A.|
|2||Can’t Stop The Kid||3 C||L||117||Saez Luis||Green Donna|
|3||No Nay Never||3 C||L||123||Castellano Javier||Ward Wesley A.|
|4||Prudhoe Bay||3 C||L||121||Lopez Paco||Plesa, Jr. Edward|
|5||Spot||3 G||L||117||Lezcano Jose||Zito Nicholas P.|
|6||Brothersofthetime||3 C||L||121||Rios Jesus M.||Sano Antonio|
|7||Breitling Flyer||3 C||L||117||Contreras Luis||Azpurua, Jr. Leo|