Puertorican Style gave Poseidon’s Warrior his second winner in three days with a visually impressive maiden-breaking victory at Gulfstream Park on Martin Luther King Jr. day. With Luis Saez aboard, the 3-year-old colt broke like a shot from the No. 4 post, took a quick lead, then gave it up and settled back in second going to the first quarter. Saez edged Puertorican Style to the outside on the turn and the pair opened up in the stretch and cruised to the wire, prevailing by three-quarters of a length. The victory was worth $13,400 and boosted Poseidon’s Warrior’s progeny earnings to $109,732 only 15 days into the season.
Firenze Fire re-established his Kentucky Derby credentials yesterday at Aqueduct, posting a thrilling, come-from-behind victory in the muddy, $150,000 Jerome Stakes, and picking up 10 important points on the road to Louisville. The 3-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior now has 20 points, just four behind the division leader.
Manny Franco settled Firenze Fire at the rear of the field leaving the gate in the one-mile race and the colt traveled four or five wide down the backstretch. Franco sent him after the leaders five wide on the turn and Firenze Fire picked off his rivals one by one until only Seven Trumpets stood between him and his third stakes victory. It took the entire length of the stretch to do it, but Firenze Fire nailed Seven Trumpets in the final strides, winning by a head. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to the third-place finisher.
The victory was worth $90,000 for Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stables, raising his 6-race total to $539,100. His owner is looking ahead to the Gr. III, one-mile Gotham at Aqueduct on March 10, then the Gr. II Wood Memorial at Belmont Park on April 7. The Wood currently carries a purse of $750,000, but there will be a $250,000 increase if there’s a Gr. I winner in the field. Firenze Fire won the Gr. I Champagne in the fall, making the Wood worth $1 million if he makes it into the entries.
How many times have we heard – in every sport – that the game is often determined by “a matter of inches.” On the final day of the 2017 racing season, determining the leading Florida freshman sire with respect to progeny earnings turned out to be a matter of inches, exactly the way one Pleasant Acres stallion edged out another for the important title.
Poseidon’s Warrior came into closing day with earnings of $589,958; Treasure Beach was $7,919 behind with $582,039. With New Year’s Eve approaching, Poseidon’s Warrior picked up his sixth winner when Jacks a Warrior broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in his third start in 32 days. Shannon Uske settled the gelding close to the pace, sent him up three wide on the turn, shifted to the rail for the stretch run and Jacks a Warrior exploded for a four-length victory. The $8,100 winner’s share raised the stallion’s earnings to $598,058.
At the same time, Treasure Beach had Seattle Treasure competing in a $35,000 claimer at Gulfstream Park, with Miguel Vasquez in the irons. First place in the one-mile grass race was worth $21,800, second place $5,880. Vasquez made a valiant run through the stretch with his colt, only to fall a head short of Espresso Caliente at the wire. The earnings title was determined by a matter of inches. The runner-up check boosted Treasure Beach’s total to $588,439, but the extra $15,920 for a victory would have given him the title over his stablemate.
(Stakes-placed Seattle Treasure was claimed out of the race for the $35,000 tag, and is 1-1-2 in six starts with earnings of $59,055).
All it took for Venezuelan Forever to break her maiden was a switch in riders, and the 2-year-old daughter of Treasure Beach gave her sire his 14th winner yesterday at Gulfstream Park. Based on the entries listed for the various tracks for the next five days, it appears nobody can catch Treasure Beach in the Florida freshman race by Dec. 31. The filly’s victory was worth $20,700 and brought Treasure Beach’s progeny earnings to $577,089, so the earnings race will go down to the wire; Pleasant Acres’ Poseidon’s Warrior currently leads with $588,613.
Talented Nik Juarez had Venezuelan Forever in fifth place early in the one-mile turf race and his filly was straining to run all the way down the backstretch. Juarez slipped her between horses on the final turn and when a hole opened up heading for home, the gray filly bred by Orlyana Farm exploded through and in a matter of seconds took a daylight lead, coasting to the wire by nearly two lengths.
Treasure Beach all but cemented one of the leading Florida freshman sire titles for 2017 yesterday when Coco Honey broke her maiden under Brian Hernandez Jr. over a sloppy racetrack at Fair Grounds. Hernandez had the filly sitting in perfect stalking position in the one-mile race, moved her up three wide on the final turn, then held off 2-1 favorite Rahway by a neck, taking down the winner’s share of $12,000. Coco Honey became winner No. 13 for Treasure Beach, giving the stallion a two-up lead with 10 days left in the race. He raised his progeny earnings to $555,739, second on the money list behind Poseidon’s Warrior, who leads with $587,553.
Heading down to the wire, with just 13 days remaining in the race, Treasure Beach has broken the tie atop Florida’s freshman sire list, picking up winner No. 12 via a superior performance by Beach Waltz at Gulfstream Park yesterday. The Kentucky-bred filly owned and bred by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey had finished second in her debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15 and was sent off at 5-1 odds for this $48,000 maiden special on the grass. Beach Waltz jumped out to the lead under Luis Saez and was quickly headed by Jasmine’s Gem, with Edgard Zayas aboard. The two fillies battled that way for the entire mile and one-sixteenth, with Beach Waltz never giving in and prevailing at the wire by a head after a furious stretch drive. She earned $25,200 for her game victory and has $30,000 in the bank for her two starts.
Aside from his No. 1 position on the winners’ list, Treasure Beach is also second on the progeny earnings list behind Poseidon’s Warrior, giving Pleasant Acres an excellent chance for a sweep of both titles.
It took Navy Commander four tries to break his maiden, but when he did, he sailed to a 3 1/2-length victory at Parx Racing yesterday. The Pennsylvania-bred colt by Poseidon’s Warrior broke out of the gate in tandem with even-money favorite Jack Straight in the 5 1/2-furlong race, and they remained that way until the turn, where Frankie Pennington eased Navy Commander back on the rail and gave up the lead. But the colt immediately rallied on the outside heading into the stretch and put the favorite away easily, drawing off late to pick up the $23,520 winner’s check for owner/breeder Swilcan Stables. It was eight lengths back to the third-place finisher. Navy Commander became winner No. 5 in the first crop of Poseidon’s Warrior, who leads all Florida freshman sires with progeny earnings of $575,921.
Treasure Beach move within $1,614 of the half-million-dollar mark in progeny earnings yesterday, as Seattle Treasure finished a fast-closing third in the $75,000 Juvenile Turf Stakes at Gulfstream West. The stallion by Galileo sits in 10th place among 118 sires on the North American Freshman list with earnings of $498,386.
Seattle Treasure was off sixth in the one-mile turf test and jockey Leonel Reyes went after the leaders midway down the backstretch. Turning into the stretch, Reyes swung the colt to the rail and Seattle Treasure was making a good run when he was knocked off-stride behind the battling leaders and his rider had to snatch him briefly. Seattle Treasure dug in again and was closing fastest of all but the wire came up too quickly and he finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind. The $7,275 share of the purse lifted his earnings to $52,425 on a record of 1-0-2 in four starts.
It’s hard to keep a secret in the world of thoroughbred racing and that certainly proved to be true when Treasure Map made his career debut at Retama Park yesterday. The colt by Treasure Beach had posted just one bullet work out of five coming up to the six-furlong maiden special race, yet he was bet down to 3/5 by that mysterious group known only as “they.” Treasure Map, bred by Ed Seltzer, Beverly Anderson and Joe and Helen Barbazon, lived up to his billing, breaking sharply from the gate, surrendering the lead heading down the backstretch, then proving to be best after a long stretch duel with Overnight Stay. Treasure Map prevailed by one-half length, and it was another 4 1/2 lengths back to the third horse. He became winner No. 11 from Treasure Beach’s first crop, best of all Florida freshman sires, and he moved to within less than $20,000 from the $500,000 mark in progeny earnings, second only to stablemate Poseidon’s Warrior.
The ledger is complete. With the victory of Spicy Nelly at Gulfstream West yesterday, all five of the 2017 freshman stallions from Pleasant Acres have at least one winner, led by Treasure Beach, who is the Florida leader with 10. After finishing a sharp second in her Oct. 7 debut, Spicy Nelly, the only starter thus far from the first crop of Beau Choix, broke her maiden in her second try in a one-mile race that was taken off the turf and contested over the main track. Carlos Olivero took the filly away quickly and Spicy Nelly was head-and-head for the lead after a quarter of a mile. She took over by herself racing down the backstretch, put away favored J C’s Proud Kitten in the stretch, then powered away to score by nearly five lengths. The victory was worth $16,600 plus a breeder’s award for Just For Fun Stable.