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Tyler Gaffalione celebrates aboard White Abarrio after winning the Florida Derby
The highlight of the Gulfstream Park meeting for Triple Crown season is the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill 'N' Dale Farms at Xalapa, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series.
Conditions were excellent at the Hallandale Beach oval, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 80's, with the main track fast and the turf going firm. A field of 11 three-year-olds contested this 1 1/8 mile trip on Saturday afternoon, one complete lap of the main track, with Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Simplification sent off as the 9-4 favorite. In to
White Abarrio leads down the stretch in the Florida Derby
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent 7-2 fourth choice Classic Causeway to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.67 and 47.24 while pressed by Simplification and stalked by 16-1 Pappacap and Charge It. On the far turn Classic Causeway tired as Pappacap inherited the lead through 3/4 in 1:10.68. White Abarrio, 5th early under Tyler Gaffalione, swept to the lead 4 wide through 1 mile in 1:36.55. Despite drifting out at the 1/16 pole, White Abarrio drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Charge It in 1:50.64. It was another length back to favorite Simplification third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 White Abarrio Gaffalione 7.80 4.20 2.80 6 Charge It Saez 5.00 3.20 3 Simplification Ortiz 2.60 Winning Time: 1:50.64 $1 Exacta 7-6 257.10 $1 Trifecta 7-6-3 1,105.70 $1 Superfecta 7-6-3-5 3,493.80
Left: White Abarrio in the winners circle. Winning trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said, "It means the world to me. The Florida Derby is up there with the Kentucky Derby because we're based at Gulfstream. "When I said I wanted to move here, my dad said I was crazy because I had been training the best horses in Barbados. But he backed me and supported me. After six years, I said, 'It's not going to work out.' He said, 'We've come too far to go back now. We're not turning back.' Once he comes out good and all being well, we're going to go to Churchill and keep dreaming."
Right: White Abarrio heads back to the barn. Winning owner Mark Cornett said, "This was basically the first horse we gave (Joseph). Tyler's agent is a good friend of mine. So I called him, and he hooked me up with Saffie. We talked for about an hour and a half. We just clicked from the first point on horse management, shipping of a horse for graded stakes and things of that nature, and our philosophies just really gelled, and we just got along really well. Then I think I called him back a few hours later and said go pick this horse up."
Left: White Abarrio walks over before the race. Joseph added, "That's what good horses do, quality horses. They're able to overcome trainer errors and when things go wrong. This time was different. We didn't give up fitness. Last time we gave up fitness."
Right: White Abarrio in the post parade. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "That was a childhood dream come true. It feels amazing. I'm just so thankful to Saffie and the team and the connections, the owners, for giving me this opportunity. I planned on being a little more forwardly placed. I thought Classic Causeway and Charge It would be the two on the lead and I thought we would be able to stalk them. But Jose (Ortiz on Simplification) and Pappacap were pretty aggressive and I didn't want to get caught too wide, so I took back to save some ground."
Left: Second place finisher Charge It in the paddock before the race. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Super pleased with the effort. To get a real education in a race like that was very encouraging. He got a little green down the lane. He kind of drifted in behind that horse and felt like if he could have just run straight that last 100 yards, he was going to be right there. But I thought it was a huge effort, considering everything."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Simplification returns after the race. Trainer Antonio Sano said, "I'm so happy today. We made the decision to run near the front today because (Classic Causeway) was speed and (Pappacap) all the time is behind me."
The distaff counterpart to the Florida Derby is the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) at 1 1/16 miles, worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series. Undefeated Kathleen O. was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of 6 off her win in the Davona Dale (G2). In to challenge her included 8-5 second choice Goddess of Fire, a close second in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), and 12-1 third choice Running Legacy, 5th in an allowance after winning her debut.
Jockey Joel Rosario sent 26-1 Cancel This to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.17 and 48.27 while pressed by 24-1 Amani's Image and stalked by 44-1 longest shot Blustery. On the far turn the pacesetters tired as Goddess of Fire moved up to lead through 3/4 in 1:12.50. Kathleen O., last early under Javier Castellano and 4 wide around both turns, easily took over at the 1/8 pole and drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Goddess of Fire in 1:43.75. It was a long 17 1/4 lengths back to Running Legacy third.
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Kathleen O in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I think she wants to run a distance of ground. Upstart is by Flatter and she's out of an Arch mare and that was one of the things that attracted me to her when I saw her pedigree. She just does everything right. She laid in there and Javier you can see when he kind of let her run up to him, she does it pretty easy. He said from there he just kind of let her cruise."
Right: Kathleen O heads back to the barns.
Left: The trophy presentation for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Right: Kathleen O in the post parade. Winning jockey Javier Castellano said, "I had a beautiful trip. I had no question at all that she would handle two turns. She has strong power at the finish. I like the way she did it today, nice and easy with a strong finish. She has a lot of potential. I think she's going to be fun in the future."
Left: Second place finisher Goddess of Fire in the post parade. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "She ran super. (Jockey Luis Saez) tried to spread the race in the middle of the turn and the favorite just ran her down, but I was pleased with her effort." Jockey Luis Saez added, "We just got run down. The winner is a good filly. I knew she was right there and I tried to stay in front of her and make my move a little early so I could get away from her, but we were second-best."
Right: Third place finisher Running Legacy in the paddock. The Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee improved her record to 1 win, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $57,090 for owner-breeder Edward Seltzer.
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Family Way heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brendan Walsh said, "She got a good trip. A nice short field. Tyler said she settled fantastic when she got the cover. She didn't get cover last time, and we wanted ideally to have her get cover, and she did. When he tipped her out, she took off. I think she's getting better actually. I don't think we've seen the best of her yet."
Right: Family Way in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "We wanted to get her back there, try to get her to turn off, so that way we could have more of a finish. And she did exactly that. The main thing with her is you've got to get her covered. The European fillies, they turn off when they get the cover, and like you saw today, she relaxed beautifully, and when I took her out, she finished up well."
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Main Event in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "It was my intention to go. He broke well, and I was able to take the lead. I had a little bit of pressure the whole time. I think he ran a huge race because he was pressured the whole time and he rebroke at the three-sixteenths pole and gave me a great run. He kept going. He gave me another gear, and that's what we wanted to see."
Right: Main Event heads back to the barn. Winning trainer George Weaver said, "We'll see what happens the rest of the year, but I would say right now we'll stick with the turf. He's got a beautiful way of going; he has good natural speed. and he can carry it. I think in the longer races, you get a little softer pace set up if they let him go to the lead. I think all options are open."
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Fearless returns after the race. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "It's not so much about the tactics of it. He kind of tailed off last year and he was getting himself way too far out of the race. I knew when he broke well and he was putting himself in a good spot, it was more about that because that was some of the trouble we were having before we gave him a little bit of a break. He just wanted to give himself way too much to do early on."
Right: The start of the Ghostzapper Stakes. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "We felt like we were controlling the pace. We came to the 3/8, somebody put pressure on us. But he kicked on again. At the top of the stretch, he was all by himself. The way he finished, he finished pretty strong, pretty comfortable. I had a lot of horse left."
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 25-1 Tide of the Sea to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.90, 48.61, 1:14.40, and 1:39.50 while pressed by 8-1 Mid Day Image and stalked by Abaan. Turning for home Tide of the Sea tired as Mid Day Image inherited the lead through 10f in 2:03.49. In the stretch, Mid Day Image also tired as Abaan took over at the 1/8 pole but favorite Gufo, 6th early under Joel Rosario, came out 4 wide for room and rallied by to win going away by 2 lengths in 2:27.28. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to 9-1 Novo Sol third.
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Gufo in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "This was his first race of the year. The idea is to go to the Man o' War and we'll go from there. It was perfect. He wasn't too far back. When he asked him to quicken on the outside, he was there for him. We were not thrilled with the blinkers in his last two races last year. Looking back at it, I probably should have [removed them] earlier, but that's OK. We live and learn."
Right: Gufo heads back to the barn after their race. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It was a good trip. He broke good. That's the way he is – show some speed and then take his time. The pace was pretty good. I tried to save as much ground as I could and turning for home, he had a nice kick."
Left: Second place finisher Abaan returns after the race. The Todd Pletcher trainee increased his earnings to $393,470 in 12 lifetime starts, with 4 wins and 5 seconds.
Right: Third place finisher Novo Sol in the post parade. It was the second start in the US for the Brazilian-bred who is trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sent Phantom Currency to the lead first time by and was pressed by 5-1 fourth choice Carpenter's Call and stalked by 7-1 Wolfie's Dynaghost through fractions of 25.92, 49.89, and 1:12.85. Turning for home Phantom Currency continued to lead. Wolfie's Dynaghost attempted to rally along the inside but Phantom Currency held him off to win by 1/2 a length in 1:34.48. It was another 1/2 length back to Carpenter's Call third. Due to a timer malfunction the race was hand timed.
Results Chart from DRF.
Left: Phantom Currency in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Brian Lynch said, "You can't beat back class. He trained awesome coming up to the race. We got some stiff works into him and he stood up to each one better than the next. Turning for home, I could see them riding hard behind him and Irad had asked him – it gave me a helluva good feeling. To see him quicken up and finish up like he did, it was a helluva prep race for the Elkhorn at Keeneland."
Right: Phantom Currency returns after the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "We wanted to get a clean break and let him go. If we can make the lead, that would be great, and that's what happened. He did everything I asked."
Photos courtesy of Amber Chalfin of Downthestretchphotos.com.
2019 Florida Derby won by Maximum Security
2018 Florida Derby won by Audible
2017 Florida Derby won by Always Dreaming
2016 Florida Derby won by Nyquist
2015 Florida Derby won by Materiality
2014 Florida Derby won by Constitution
2013 Florida Derby won by Orb
2012 Florida Derby won by Take Charge Indy
2011 Florida Derby won by Dialed In
2010 Florida Derby won by Ice Box
2009 Florida Derby won by Quality Road
2008 Florida Derby won by Big Brown
2007 Florida Derby won by Scat Daddy
2006 Florida Derby won by Barbaro
2005 Florida Derby won by High Fly
2004 Florida Derby won by Friends Lake
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