Fly So Free, the early favorite to win this year's Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to make his 1991 debut in the company of unbeaten To Freedom and eight other 3-year-olds in the Hutcheson Stakes today at Gulfstream Park.
The Triple Crown tour unofficially embarks from Florida with the seven-furlong Hutcheson, which stands as Fly So Free's first challenge since his three-length triumph in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October. That outing probably earned him an Eclipse Award as best 2-year-old of 1990, but divisional titles won't be announced until Feb. 9.
Trainer Scotty Schulhofer named Jose Santos for a return ride on Fly So Free, who faces two colts with more speed and five-race winning streaks as well.
To Freedom, trained by John Tammaro, had been off five months before he won the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream to remain undefeated. In each of his last three starts, To Freedom has run the first quarter-mile in no more than 21 4/5 seconds. Chris Antley got the mount after Angel Cordero Jr. bruised a shoulder in a spill last week.
Richman was beaten by To Freedom twice at Churchill Downs last summer, but he finished the year with five straight stakes victories by a sum of 32 lengths. Pat Day will ride him today.
The Hutcheson will be the first race simulcast this year by Laurel and off-track Pimlico. Carded as the last of 12 races, it follows the $50,000-added Gay Matelda Stakes in which Give Her a Hand leads a field of 10 3-year-old fillies. A Go for Timonium
A planning committee has recommended that Timonium Race Course conduct its 10-day meeting this summer, and president F. Grove Miller said the fairground track intends to operate as scheduled.
According to Miller, the track has consulted with engineers about temporarily repairing portions of the damaged grandstand roof before Timonium reopens late in August. "They assured us that if we took steps to patch it it would not deteriote any further," he said. Uncharted Territory
The Equibase Co. plans to conduct an experiment at Keeneland this month that ultimately could revolutionize the way racing charts are chronicled. On Feb. 19, horses training at the Lexington, Ky., track will have small transmitters affixed to the browbands of their bridles. Loop antennae located at certain points beneath the track will relay signals from the transmitters to a computer recording the horses' position and time.
Equibase, a joint venture of The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Racing Associations, said the system would provide more accuracy than the current method of chart-calling, in which trained observers use binoculars to designate horses and length differentials. The company hopes to have the process perfected next year. . . .
Defending champ Amy Be Good is headed for the Barbara Fritchie Handicap Feb. 16. . . . Apprentice Charlie Fenwick was suspended seven days, effective Sunday, for allowing Ironed Out to impede Passive in Tuesday's 10th race. . . . Mario Pino rode three winners yesterday. . . . Early nominees to this year's Triple Crown races will be released this weekend. . . . After reporting sick the past two days, jockey Joe Rocco is expected to ride today.