Archive for the ‘Jockey Paco Lopez’ Category.

‘Classy horse’ Sacred Life bests tough field in Monmouth’s Oceanport

In a field that featured four graded stakes winners and a millionaire, Sacred Life – who is neither yet – proved he belongs in that company.

The Chad Brown-trainee stormed home with a rousing stretch run under Paco Lopez and easily drew off to a four-length victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Idle since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park, Sacred Life showed no ill effects from the layoff, easily besting eight rivals in the 73rd edition of the mile-and-a-sixteenth grass race for 3-year-olds-and up.

“I wasn’t worried about that (the layoff),” said Luis Cabrera, who oversees Brown’s string at Monmouth Park. “He’s a very classy horse. He knows what to do and he knows where the wire is. He beat a good field. This was a tough race. But this is a good horse, a very classy horse.”

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Bred in France, the 5-year-old son of Siyouni-Knyazhna by Montjeu came to Brown from Europe a year ago. In five starts in the United States, he has twice raced against Grade 2 competition and once in a Grade 1.

The Oceanport field consisted of graded stakes winners Synchrony, Hawkish, Eons and Thread of Blue, with the latter having banked more than $1 million in his career.

Hawkish rallied for second, with early pace setter Irish Strait finishing a nose back in third. Time for the mile and a sixteenth over a turf course listed as “good” was 1:42.13.

Lopez, injured in a spill on Saturday’s card that saw the track’s leading rider transported to the hospital, sat patiently in mid-pack with Sacred Life before getting a clear run in the stretch, with track announcer Frank Mirahmadi saying it appeared the horse was “shot out of a cannon” with his eye-catching late move.

At the quarter pole Sacred Life, the 6-5 second choice, was fifth by 3½ lengths.

Lopez said it was just a matter of staying clear and letting the horse do what he does, especially since he was still hurting from his mishap.

“I’m a little sore. My elbow is a little bruised,” said Lopez, who won four races on the card. “I’m very lucky that I am able to come back quickly and then to ride a nice horse like this in a stakes race. He was ready today. I know he’s a classy horse. I just wanted to get some position in the first turn, let him settle and wait. I took him outside because the turf is a little harder there than it is inside.

“I was waiting for (Synchrony, the 11-10 favorite in the betting) but he never showed up, so I just wanted to get my horse clear. I held him as long as could, but he really wanted to go. He showed how much he wanted to run with the way he closed.”

Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stables and Bethlehem Stables LLC, Sacred Life returned $4.40 to win.

The victory was his sixth in 15 career starts. He also has six seconds.

Vanzzy makes Jersey Derby third stakes victory

Vanzzy scored the third stakes victory of his career with help from a ground-saving, well-timed ride from Monmouth Park leading rider Paco Lopez, taking the $100,000 Jersey Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf on Sunday.

Vanzzy ($7.20), who had been on the lead in his prior race, found some cover and saved ground along the inside early, never more thn two lengths off the lead. Graded stakes winner Island Commish took the field through an opening six furlongs in a moderate 1:13.16 on a turf course officially rated firm.

Vanzzy found room along the rail turning for home and shot through to take command in upper stretch. He continued to draw clear from there, hitting the wire 3 1/2 lengths in front.

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“[Trainer Michael Pino] left it up to me, but he said this horse can be on the lead if you need him to be,” Lopez said. “The turf course isn’t really fast – it’s a little soft. I was just so comfortable with him being on the rail and following horses. I just had to wait for the chance to move. He really responded when he got through and was able to run.”

Vanzzy finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.30.

Bye Bye Melvin, who had tracked the pace in second throughout, gamely held off a late run from favored Irish Mias to be second by three-quarters of a length.

Vanzzy, a Verrazano colt who is trained by Pino for owner Daniel Ryan, added the Jersey Derby to two stakes victories on synthetic tracks, as he took the Display Stakes last December at Woodbine and the Rushaway Stakes in March at Turfway Park. He finished third in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes on July 4 on the Delaware Park turf, and was also stakes-placed on dirt as a juvenile.

“This was his best race yet,” Pino said. “You can see he is getting better with each race, especially when we can get him to settle like we did. I have to think about what is next for him, but maybe the [Grade 3] Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs [on Aug. 29]. We’ll play it by ear. He has become a real solid horse.”

Horologist improves to 5-for-5 at Monmouth with Molly Pitcher win

New Jersey-bred Horologist loves the Garden State. Back at Monmouth Park–where she was a three-time winner last summer–Horologist improved to 5-for-5 overall on the Jersey Shore main track when running down longshot front-runner Our Super Freak in the stretch to win the $250,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Horologist was making her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott after spending the first half of this season with Richard Baltas. She capped off a big day for Mott, who about 30 minutes earlier won the $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) with Paris Lights at Saratoga.

Ridden by Joe Bravo — who also won the Grade 1 United Nations earlier on the card with Aquaphobia — Horologist stalked fractions of :23.64 and :47.09 for the opening half mile set by dueling longshots Our Super Freak and Winning Color in the 1 1/16 miles Molly Pitcher. Horologist took aim at the leaders at the three-eighths pole and after six furlongs in 1:11.32, drew on even terms with Our Super Freak at the top of the stretch.

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While Our Super Freak continued on gamely, Horologist edged in front of that rival late and pulled clear to win by about two lengths in a final time of 1:43.84. Our Super Freak was followed across the wire by 3-2 favorite Royal Flag and Sweet Sami D.

Horologist, who is owned by Cameron Beatty’s There’s a Chance Parkland Thoroughbreds, paid $9.40 as the 7-2 fourth choice in the wagering. She’s a Julie, who was exiting a win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 13, was never a factor.

This is the second stakes win for Horologist, who last year won the Monmouth Oaks (G3) while with trainer John F. Mazza. Previously this season, the daughter of Gemologist was off the board in both the La Canada (G3) at Santa Anita and Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park, second in the Nellie Morse at Laurel Park and most recently was eased in the May 31 Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita.

“Sometimes the horse goes to something new that they’re not familiar with. It’s all a risk, ” Beatty said of the Santa Anita outing. “Me and my partners took the risk. We regrouped and we decided to bring her back to Monmouth Park. We knew she loved it here. She’s 5-for-5 here now. She just loves it here. I love it here. It’s unbelievable that she’s a multiple graded stakes winner now as Jersey-bred. Just a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.”

Nay Lady Nay Gives Brown Another Matchmaker Win

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

There was a graded turf stakes at Monmouth Park July 18, and two fillies trained by Chad Brown dueled through the final sixteenth to finish 1-2.

The specifics this time was that First Row Partners and Hidden Brook Farm’s Nay Lady Nay edged stablemate Beautiful Lover to prevail by a half-length in the $152,500 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (G3T) to kick off a slate of five graded stakes on the Haskell Day card.

“I was very pleased with both fillies’ efforts,” Brown said from Saratoga Race Couse. “Both got good trips and kicked nicely.”

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The Matchmaker underscored why Brown has been the Eclipse Award-winning trainer for the past four years, and the female turf champ has resided in his barn the past three. Suffice it to say, with Rushing Fall, Newspaperofrecord, Uni, and Sistercharlie in their stalls this year, four champs in a row is hardly out of the question.

Yet when it comes to turf females, Brown’s barn has depth from top to bottom. Nay Lady Nay and Beautiful Lover completed the Matchmaker exacta as the two betting choices in the field of seven.

He also sent out William Lawrence and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Tapit Today to finish fourth.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Tango Uniform Racing’s Feel Glorious was third for trainer Christophe Clement in a race where the owners of the top three finishers can collect on a total value of $50,000 in stallion seasons to WinStar’s Exaggerator, Take Charge Indy, and Yoshida.

The Matchmaker set up nicely for the top two finishers as Tapit Today pressed the pace-setting Valedictorian through a :47.68 opening half-mile, with Nay Lady Nay and Beautiful Lover third and fourth, respectively, on the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile stakes. As the two speedsters weakened in the stretch, Brown’s two runners went by, with 2-1 favorite Nay Lady Nay ($6.40) prevailing to give the 41-year-old trainer his third win in four years in the stakes and fourth in six years.

“She’s a nice filly, and she showed some nice speed,” jockey Paco Lopez said. “Chad has done a great job with her.”

The victory was the fourth in seven starts for the 4-year-old daughter of No Nay Never out of the English Channel mare Lady Ederle who has earned $356,180. Bred in Ireland by Stephen Sullivan, she was bought by Hidden Brook for $210,000 from the Eddie Woods consignment at the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

Eighth in the May 30 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3T) in her only other 2020 start, though she was only beaten by two lengths, Nay Lady Nay closed her 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2T).

A full sister to group 2 winner Arizona, Nay Lady Nay is the second grade/group stakes winner from Lady Ederle’s three foals to race.

Her dam also has an unraced 2-year-old filly named Lady Peoria by Estidhkaar.

Paul Pompa Jr. and Gary Tolchin’s 3-1 second choice, Beautiful Lover, a 4-year-old daughter of Arch ridden by Joe Bravo who was fourth in the Gamely Stakes (G1T) in her previous start, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Feel Glorious, a Bated Breath 4-year-old.

Jockey Paco Lopez Looking Forward To Strong Competition At Monmouth Meet

The competition may change from one summer to the next but the goal never does for Paco Lopez. Once he arrives at Monmouth Park he does so with a single-minded objective: To be the leading rider.

With his right thumb fully healed following surgery on April 14, Lopez has his sights set on a seventh riding title when Monmouth Park’s 75th season of racing gets underway on Friday, July 3.

“I want to try to win it again. I come to Monmouth Park thinking that every year,” said Lopez.

The native of Veracruz, Mexico, notched his sixth Monmouth Park jockey title a year ago, leaving him behind only Joe Bravo (13 titles) in number of titles won at the Jersey Shore oval.

But last year’s finish atop the rider standings at Monmouth Park may have been his most impressive one yet. He didn’t ride at the track until June 15 – six weeks after the meet started. Nik Juarez had built what looked to be a comfortable lead in the standings by then. Lopez caught and passed Juarez on the final weekend of the meet, finishing with 109 victories to Juarez’s 107 in the closest jockey’s race in track history.
The strong finish by Lopez included a victory aboard 14-1 shot Hunter O’Riley in the Grade 1 United Nations.

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“You have to be lucky and stay healthy. But at least this time I will be there from the beginning of the meet, so maybe that will give me an extra advantage,” Lopez said. “I know I will try hard for it. Every year things change so you don’t know what will happen. There are new faces, new clients and new challenges. You have to see what happens.”

Lopez will face some rigorous competition over the 37-day meet, with proven journeyman Victor Carrasaco, the 2013 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice, moving his tack from Maryland. Bravo is back as well, as are Juarez and reliable veterans Jose C. Ferrer and Chris DeCarlo, with Antonio Gallardo and Trevor McCarthy adding to the jockey room’s star power. Gallardo, who had 65 mounts at Monmouth last year, has committed to full-time riding after recently capturing the jockey’s title at Tampa Downs.

“The competition is very good this year,” said Lopez. “But I like competition. The competition pushes me.”

Lopez, who has more than 2,800 career wins, is coming off a career year, having set personal bests for victories (283) and earnings ($10.9 million-plus) in 2019.

He still sports a supporting brace on his right hand to help with his surgically-repaired thumb, which he fractured when he was unseated during a race on April 11 at Gulfstream Park. Lopez returned to riding on May 21, finishing third in the standings at the Gulfstream “Championship Meet” with 96 winners.

“I’m fine. I feel good. I’m ready to go,” he said. “I love being here every summer. I keep coming back because I love Monmouth and I love being in New Jersey in the summer. As long as I stay healthy I think it will be a good meet.”

Highland Glory Nips Cheermeister in Sanibel Island

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Steadfast Stable’s Highland Glory needed every inch of the Gulfstream Park stretch on Saturday, rallying late to nip Cheermeister and win the $100,000 Sanibel Island Stakes Presented by US Foods.

Breaking from post 11 under Paco Lopez at 7/2 odds, Highland Glory settled comfortably into mid-pack as she passed the empty grandstands for the first time. Up front, the speedy Cheermeister held a lengthy advantage while posting opening fractions of :23.46, :47.35, and 1:10.70.

After inching forward through the far turn, Highland Glory turned for home with a clear path and her eyes set on the pacesetter. Rallying toward the front alongside She’s My Type, Highland Glory drifted in slightly but still met Cheermeister’s throat latch in the shadow of the wire.

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Surging ahead in the final jump, the Barclay Tagg trainee crossed a neck clear in a final time of 1:34.42 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.

Cheermeister held off She’s My Type by a 1/2-length to secure second. Stunny Sky was 3/4 of a length back in fourth, while Walk In Marrakesh necked out How Ironic for fifth.

Lucky Polly, Heir of Light, Seducer, Fujairah, and Onyx completed the order of finish. Lady Panda was scratched, as was Duchess of Sussex, who failed to draw in from the Also Eligibles list.

Highland Glory’s win was her second straight, having broken her maiden here on January 19 while making her first appearance on turf. The 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa improved her record to 4-2-1-0 with $106,580 earned.

Highland Glory returned $9.80 to win, $5.60 to place, and $4.20 to show. Cheermeister brought back $6.80 to place and $4.80 to show, while She’s My Type paid $5.20 to show.

Swiss Skydiver breaks fast, cruises to Gulfstream Park Oaks win

Trainer Ken McPeek put jockey Paco Lopez on Swiss Skydiver for Saturday’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks because he wanted the filly to be put into the race earlier than she was in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra last month at Fair Grounds.

Lopez got Swiss Skydiver to the front into the first turn, was able to get away with a soft, uncontested early pace, and then drew away from a stalking Lucrezia to win the Gulfstream Park Oaks by 3 1/4 lengths. Lucrezia held second by a nose over Lake Avenue.

It was a half-length back to Bajan Girl, who was followed, in order, by Spice Is Nice, Dream Marie, Tonalist’s Shape, Spartanka, Mrs. S, Inveterate, Sunset Promise, and Addilyn.

The win was the second from five starts for Swiss Skydiver, a daughter of Daredevil owned by Peter Callahan.

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McPeek expressed confidence in Swiss Skydiver this week because he knew she’d appreciate two turns. She had only one previous two-turn start, that a third behind Finite and British Idiom in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.

“She just kept coming around, we finally got a series of two-turn races under her belt, which she’s needed really bad,” McPeek said by phone from Kentucky where he watched the race on television from what he called his “Grade 2 couch.”

“She showed a lot of talent from the beginning,” McPeek added.

The break was key to Swiss Skydiver who got to the front under Lopez with an opening quarter in 24.33 seconds. She maintained a one-length advantage over Lucrezia through a half-mile in 49.12. Lucrezia, under Julien Leparoux, made a run at Swiss Skydiver around the far turn, but Swiss Skydiver had plenty left with which to finish and drew away in the final eighth of a mile.

“She needed to jump a little quicker,” McPeek said. “My assistant [Greg Geier] and I talked about popping her out of the gate. She tended to lag behind a little bit in some of the sprint races. Paco, he’s what I call a lean-forward type of jock. When they load the gate, he doesn’t hesitate. He did a great job today, breaking her out of there and put her in a position where he could steal it.”

Swiss Skydiver covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.54 and returned $20.20 to win.

Tonalist’s Shape, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., suffered her first defeat after winning her first five career starts. She was wide entering the first turn but was pretty much out of run by the quarter pole and ended up seventh, beaten 11 3/4 lengths.

Spice Is Nice, second to Tonalist’s Shape in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, was in tight quarters entering the first turn, tried to make a run around the turn, but flattened out in upper stretch, beaten 10 lengths.

Swiss Skydiver earned 100 qualifying points toward the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks.

McPeek said since his filly has run at Tampa, Fair Grounds, and Gulfstream Park already this winter, she will likely benefit from a little break before gearing up for the summer.

“I think September will be ideal,” McPeek said.

Swiss Skydiver Lands a Victory in Gulfstream Park Oaks

After shipping from Florida to Louisiana in search of a race that suited her talents, Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver stayed in the Sunshine State March 28 and wound up earning a trip to Kentucky five months from now.

Benefitting from a savvy ride by Paco Lopez, the daughter of Daredevil darted to the early lead and registered a frontrunning 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies on the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) undercard at a spectator-less Gulfstream Park.

“We’ve always expected this out of her,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “There’s a big future for her.”

Finding a two-turn spot for Swiss Skydiver has been McPeek’s objective for quite a while, which led to shipping her to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for the Feb. 15 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2), where she ran into a buzzsaw named Finite in the 1 1/16-mile stakes, along with champion British Idiom, who ran second. She finished third to that pair, 6 1/2 lengths behind.

Rather than keep her in Louisiana, McPeek opted to ship her back to Florida with the goal of the 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Oaks, the track’s first graded dirt stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a two-turn distance.

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“The program at Gulfstream is a bit awkward for 3-year-old fillies in that this is their first stakes for 3-year-old fillies at two turns. The others were seven-eighths or a one-turn mile,” McPeek said by phone from his home in Louisville. “I think she’s been begging for two turns. Her race at Fair Grounds was respectable and I told the owner, Peter Callahan, ‘I think she’s going to be tough to beat here. They better have their running shoes on because this is as good as she can get.'”

By virtue of Saturday’s victory, her second in five starts, Swiss Skydiver picked up 100 qualifying points toward the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and assured herself of a spot in the 1 1/8-mile stakes, but that will not matter until Sept. 4 because of the new date for the May classic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So for now, McPeek will likely send the filly to his Summerfield Training Center in Marion County, Fla., until the racing landscape comes into a brighter focus.

“I think you have to sit back and take your time. We’re all in the same boat. We have to let this national crisis sort itself out and let racing get back to itself,” McPeek said. “She’s probably going to Summerfield where she spent part of the winter.”

Out of the Johannesburg mare Expo Gold, Swiss Skydiver is the first graded stakes winner for her dam and one of two of Expo Gold’s four foals to race to earn black type. McPeek bought Swiss Skydiver for $35,000 from the Select Sales consignment at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

After racing in mid-pack early in the three losses that followed a debut win at Churchill Downs, Swiss Skydiver was pushed to the lead at the break from post 6 in a field of 12 and was ahead by a clear margin before hitting the backstretch. She then cruised along through soft fractions of :49.12 and 1:13.30.

“Paco did a great job of placing her forward,” McPeek said. “That was the bad thing before. She layed back in some races and got in trouble and today she made a nice run to the first turn to get clear.”

Approaching the quarter pole, Edward Seltzer and Beverly Anderson’s Lucrezia and Godolphin’s Demoiselle Stakes (G2) winner Lake Avenue took a run at the leader, but Swiss Skydiver fended off those bids and drew away to cover the distance in 1:43.54.
Sent off at 9-1, she paid $20.20 to win.

Lucrezia, a daughter of Into Mischief trained by Arnaud Delacour, took second by a nose over Lake Avenue, a Tapit homebred trained by Bill Mott. They received 40 and 20 qualifying points, respectively, toward a berth in the Kentucky Oaks.

Robert Slack and Daniel Walters’ Bajan Girl, who was sent off at 105-1, was fourth. The daughter of Speightstown trained by Rohan Crichton netted 10 points.

Spice Is Nice, the 2-1 second choice, was fifth.

Favored Tonalist’s Shape never fired at 9-5 odds and wound up seventh in suffering her first loss in six career starts.

Hear My Prayer Among Seven Gulfstream Winners for Lopez

On March 21 when most of the racing news took place at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) day, Paco Lopez grabbed headlines at Gulfstream Park, riding a record-equaling seven winners, including Hear My Prayer in the $75,000 Melody of Colors Stakes, one of two black-type races on the card.

Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer sprinted to the lead and kept on going, shaking off Foolish Humor early and turning away Compensate late to earn her first career stakes victory in the Melody of Colors by 1 3/4 lengths, marking the fifth of Lopez’s seven winners on the 12-race card. Compensate was second and Foolish Humor was third.

Lopez, a past Championship Meet riding champion who sits third in the current standings, also won aboard Strike Magic in race 1, Time to Two Step in race 2, French Quarter in race 5, and Quick Step Ed in race 6, adding a sixth win aboard We Miss Susie in race 10 and a seventh aboard National Honor in race 12.

With his seventh win, Lopez joined the company of Luis Saez (twice), Tyler Gaffalione, and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey, according to Gulfstream Park publicity. Saez achieved the feat Jan. 24, 2018 and March 29, 2018. Gaffalione won seven on July 4, 2017, while Bailey did so on March 11, 1996.

Trained by David Fisher, Hear My Prayer was a popular winner at even money in the field of 11 3-year-old fillies, cutting back to five furlongs following her 2020 debut, in which she was sixth after setting the pace in the 7 1/2-furlong Ginger Brew Stakes Jan. 4 at Gulfstream. She is a daughter of The Big Beast out of the Songandaprayer mare Additional Prayer.

She was bought for $16,000 by Omega Farm, agent, from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2018 October Yearling Sale from the consignment of Camelot Acres Racing & Sales.

The winning time was :55.89 over a firm turf course.

Two races later on the card, Smart Angle’s Cajun Casanova rallied from far back to win the $75,000 Texas Glitter Stakes, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds.

Trained by Michael Pino, Cajun Casanova, who captured the five-furlong Hollywood Beach Stakes on turf last year at Gulfstream, was claimed for $50,000 out of 5 1/4-length victory in a five-furlong, off-the-turf starter optional claiming race Jan. 23. The son of Cajun Breeze pressed the pace before finishing second in a five-furlong allowance on turf for his new connections Feb. 17.

Saturday, Cajun Casanova and jockey Miguel Vasquez employed different tactics with success. Cajun Casanova chased the pace in fourth as R Man Joe set solid fractions of :21.47 and :43.36 for the first half-mile before swinging wide entering the stretch and kicking in to win by neck.

R Man Joe finished second under Emisael Jaramillo, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of late-charging Guildsman and jockey Luis Saez.

Cajun Casanova, bred in Florida by Shadybrook Farm and out of the Concerto mare Theladysaidno, ran five furlongs in :55.28.

Paco Lopez Ties Gulfstream Record With Seven Winners On Saturday – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer sprinted to the lead and kept on going, shaking off Foolish Humor early and turning away Compensate late to earn her first career stakes victory in the $75,000 Melody of Colors by 1 ½ lengths, giving jockey Paco Lopez his fifth of a record-equaling seven victories on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.

Lopez, a past Championship Meet riding champion who sits third in the current standings, won aboard Strike Magic ($21) in Race 1, Time to Two Step ($2.40) in Race 2, French Quarter ($3.60) in Race 5 and Quick Step Ed ($8.80) in Race 6, adding a sixth win aboard We Miss Susie ($6) in Race 10 and a seventh aboard National Honor ($11.80) in Race 12.

With his seventh win Lopez joined the company of Luis Saez (twice), Tyler Gaffalione and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Saez achieved the feat Jan. 24, 2018 and March 29, 2018. Gaffalione won seven on July 4, 2017, while Bailey set the record on March 11, 1996.
Trained by David Fisher, Hear My Prayer ($4) was a popular winner at even money in the field of 11 3-year-old fillies, cutting back to five furlongs following her 2020 debut, in which she was sixth after setting the pace in the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew Jan. 4 at Gulfstream.

The winning time was 55.89 seconds over a firm turf course.

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Hear My Prayer was intent on the lead from Post 4 and dueled through an opening quarter-mile in 21.23 seconds with Foolish Humor at her right hip. Foolish Humor began to fade around the turn and Compensate picked up the chase down the center of the track after a half in 43.80, but was unable to reel in the winner. Compensate was second, with Foolish Humor third, Mrs. Maisel fourth and 70-1 long shot Free the Beast fifth.

Hear My Prayer improved to 3-0 sprinting five furlongs on the grass, her other wins coming last fall at both Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West, each in front-running fashion. She was unable to sustain her lead in the Ginger Brew and wound up beaten 3 ¼ lengths.

Two races later, Smart Angle LLP’s Cajun Casanova rallied from far back to win the $75,000 Texas Glitter, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-olds.

Trained by Michael Pino, Cajun Casanova, who captured the five-furlong Hollywood Beach on turf last year at Gulfstream, was claimed for $50,000 out of an eight-length victory in a five-furlong off-the-turf optional claiming allowance Jan. 23. The son of Cajun Breeze set the pace before finishing second in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf for his new connections Feb. 17.

Saturday, Cajun Casanova ($9.40) and jockey Miguel Vasquez employed different tactics with success. Cajun Casanova chased the pace in fourth as R Man Joe set solid fractions of 21.47 and 43.36 seconds for the first half-mile before swinging wide entering the stretch and kicking in to win by neck.

R Man Joe finished second under Emisael Jaramillo, 1 ½ lengths ahead of late-charging Guildsman and jockey Luis Saez.

Cajun Casanova ran five furlongs in 55.28 seconds.

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