Gufo Back To The Races in Pan American


Gufo at Saratoga last summer | Sarah Andrew


The lone Grade I winner in a field of seven, Otter Bend Stables' Gufo (Declaration of War) looks to take his record over the Gulfstream turf course to a perfect four-from-four in Saturday's GII Pan American S.

After being given too much to do when a near-miss second in the GI Man O'War S. and third in the GI Manhattan S. last spring, the athletic chestnut was equipped with blinkers and validated the decision with a one-length defeat of Tide of the Sea (English Channel) in the Grand Couturier S. at Belmont July 5. He outbattled the globetrotting Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) to earn his first Grade I in the Sword Dancer S. at the Spa Aug. 28, but was a disappointing third after a premature move to the lead in the GI Turf Classic Invitational Oct. 9 and was only 10th in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf when last seen Nov. 6.

“There were perhaps a lot of factors going against him that day, pace being one of them,” trainer Christophe Clement's son and assistant, Miguel, said of the Breeders' Cup. “He had a very bad draw. He never settled throughout the first part of the race because it was a paceless race. He was perhaps a bit too keen, and it was perhaps one race too many for the campaign. Previously he was never out of the money. He is very consistent and he had never run a bad race.”

Should Gufo not be ready to fire something close to his best, Temple (Temple City) could be the chief beneficiary. Another in a series of shrewd claims by trainer Mike Maker when haltered for $80,000 last November, the 6-year-old was an allowance third at Aqueduct the following month, picked up a nice check when runner-up to Abaan (Will Take Charge) in the GIII W.L. McKnight S. over track and distance Jan. 22 and got over the hump with a one-length tally in the GII Mac Diarmida S. over 11 furlongs Mar. 5. Abaan was fourth at 3-5 on that occasion.

Speaking of horses for courses, Patricia Generazio's Mid Day Image (Midshipman) won't be mistaken for the owner's former free-wheeling star Presious Passion (Royal Anthem), but he is possessed of that same front-running prowess that has carried him to five victories and one runner-up effort from seven local appearances.

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