Trainer Jimmy Jerkens will saddle well-bred maiden winner Life On Top for owner Centennial Farms in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park.
The veteran conditioner was also expected to be represented by Grade 2 Saratoga Special winner Green Light Go in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth until the Stronach Stables homebred spiked a temperature earlier in the week.
Green Light Go, a bay son of Hard Spun, graduated in July at Belmont Park and followed up with a commanding 3 3/4-length score in the Saratoga Special in August. The talented colt completed his juvenile campaign with a pacesetting second in the Grade 1 Champagne when four lengths back of recent Grade 3 Holy Bull winner Tiz the Law.
Following a third in his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream, Jerkens was forced to stop on Green Light Go. Jerkens said there are no immediate plans for the colt.
“He’s still a little quiet but we have some cool days coming up here, so hopefully that will perk him up some,” said Jerkens.
Life On Top, a 3-year-old chestnut son of Carpe Diem-Kissed by a Star, was off-the-board on debut when sprinting six furlongs in October on the Belmont Park main track. The Kentucky-bred returned to action on the Gulfstream turf on January 18 and rallied from seventh to win a one-mile maiden tilt that garnered a 77 Beyer Speed Figure.
“He’s done well down here and really turned a corner,” said Jerkens. “We hope he’ll keep developing the right way.”
Life On Top will make his stakes debut in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf event featuring a field of 12 sophomores. He will leave from post 8 under returning rider Rajiv Maragh.
“Looking at the field numbers wise, it looks like he fits in there,” said Jerkens. “He’s training good since the maiden win, so we’ll give it a go.”
Purchased for $250,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Life On Top’s second dam, Turkish Tryst, produced multiple-graded stakes winner and current sire Hard Spun. Jerkens said he is hoping the promising Life On Top will be a factor in the Turf Triple series this summer on the NYRA circuit.
“That’s what we’re hoping. He just has to keep developing,” said Jerkens. “It’s been a month and a half between races, but he’s had good work in between and I like what I’m seeing. He’s eating good and his spirts are good. I just hope he keeps the good attitude and we should see some more good races from him.”
Chiefswood Stables’ Edge of Fire, who Jerkens saddled to an impressive two-length maiden win on February 1 at Gulfstream Park, was recently named the 5-1 second choice in the hypothetical Queen’s Plate Winterbook.
The Ontario-bred son of Curlin garnered a 67 Beyer for his facile score in a six-furlong maiden sprint.
“It was nice. He certainly won easily enough, but I’m not sure if it was the best maiden special field,” said Jerkens. “We’ll look to run him in an allowance race down here at the end of March.”
The $1 million Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile test set for June 27 at Woodbine Racetrack, is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown restricted to Canadian-bred sophomores. Jerkens said he is cautiously optimistic about having Edge of Fire prepared in time for the Canadian classic.
“It’s not ruled out, but I don’t think so,” said Jerkens. “He’s only had one six-furlong race and it’s a lot to ask. We’ll see how he handles this next race. He bucked his shins and was slow to come around and get strong enough to run. It took him awhile to get his act together, but once he got there he sure ran nice.”
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