Star Harbour wires Sunshine State Stakes

Star Harbour showed his heels to the cream of the locally based sprint division when leading throughout to register a half-length decision over Jackson Bend in Sunday’s $100,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Defending champion Bahamian
Squall finished a tiring third.

Original Article from Daily Racing Form

Star Harbour and jockey Paco Lopez win the Sunshine State Stakes by a half-length Sunday.Star Harbour was haltered for $35,000 this summer at Saratoga by trainer Bob Dibona for the Marco Thoroughbred Corp. Dibona had to win a five-way shake to get Star Harbour, who won that afternoon by a dozen lengths and finished third six weeks later in Belmont Park’s Duck Dance overnight stakes.

Star Harbour turned in a sharp 58.22-second, five-furlong workout here Nov. 30 in preparation for the Sunshine State, a Florida-bred stakes Dibona said he’s been pointing for since his arrival here last month.

With leading rider Paco Lopez aboard, Star Harbour sprinted to the lead, as expected, while joined early by longshot Cat Five Hurricane. Star Harbour easily disposed of Cat Five Hurricane after a half-mile, settled into the stretch with a clear advantage, then held sway despite tiring some near the end.

Jackson Bend, a two-time Grade 1 winner, raced wide and rallied mildly to out finish Bahamian Squall for second. The latter, making his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, broke a bit flatfooted, moved into close contention on the final turn, but was unable to kick on through the stretch.

Cat Five Hurricane took a bad step while retreating on the turn, pulled up, and was vanned off after the race.

Star Harbour, a 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, completed seven furlongs over a very fast track in 1:21.55 and paid $5.20.

“It’s very exciting to claim a horse and be able to run at this kind of level,” Dibona said. “You can pay a million dollars and not get a horse like this. He’s happy, he likes it here, he’s fast, and they’re going to have to deal with him.”

Dibona said Star Harbour would make his next start in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 18. Star Harbour finished a tiring fifth as the favorite in the 2012 Sunshine Millions Sprint.

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