Florida-bred gelding Private Thoughts will return to the turf for his first start against stakes company this year in the $125,000 Cutler Bay on the (Grade 1) Curlin Florida Derby undercard at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Set to face eight other 3-years-olds at seven-and-a-half furlongs, Private Thoughts will also be running for a $20,000 Florida-bred Top 3 bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Private Thoughts is trained by Ronald Spatz, who also co-owns the son of Neolithic with David S. Romanik, and makes his first start since a strong second when just a neck shy of Crystal Quest in a first-level, $50,000 optional claiming for Florida-breds going a mile-and-70-yards on the Gulfstream synthetic course on March 9. Last Sunday, Crystal Quest came back to win the $100,000 Equistaff Sophomore Turf as the even-money favorite at Tampa Bay Downs.

Private Thoughts appears to be improving having finished third, five-and-a-quarter lengths behind winner Prevent, under similar conditions and at the same distance on Gulfstream’s all-weather course two starts back on Feb. 10.

Private Thoughts won his first career start by two-and-a-quarter lengths against Florida-bred special weight maidens in September then finished fifth in the $85,000 Juvenile Sprint won by fellow Florida-bred Squints at six-and-a-half furlongs on Nov. 11. In his only other career race and only previous start on grass, Private Thoughts was seventh, beaten five-and-a-half lengths behind disqualified-winner Esperon in a first level, $75,000 optional claiming sprinting five furlongs on the turf on Dec. 21. Private Thoughts has earned $53,000 in his five career races.

Bred by Helen and Joseph Barbazon, Private Thoughts is out of Love Itself (GB), by Oasis Dream (GB). He was purchased by Spatz for $11,000 at the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale where he was consigned by Scenic Sales.

Paco Lopez will ride Private Thoughts from post three.

Trainer Mark Casse will saddle Set, the apparent horse to beat in the Cutler Bay.

Set makes his second career start after winning a maiden special weight by nearly six lengths after leading from start to finish going seven-and-a-half furlongs on the turf on Feb. 24.

Set was purchased by current owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber for $150,000 at last year’s OBS Spring Sale where he was consigned by Gene Recio. He earned $42,000 on his lone start.

Emisael Jaramillo will ride Set from post eight.

Rounding out the field are King Julien with jockey Jose Ortiz, Salvattore Prince and rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Tok Tok will have John Velazquez aboard, Double Your Money with Javier Castello aboard, Joel Rosario rides Ari’s Magic, Massif and jockey Edgard Zayas and Old Flag will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez.

Return to the March 27 issue of Wire to Wire