On Saturday, the card at the Gulfstream Park was brimming with high-class action, in addition to the two races for three-year-olds, there were four races for older horses. On the turf, Family Way fulfilled the role of a favorite among fillies and mares in the G3 Orchid Stakes, then classy Gufo returned to the tracks with a bang in the 2022 Pan American Stakes, and Phantom Currency delivered in the G3 Appleton Stakes. Fearless then honored his sire in the G3 Ghostzapper Stakes on the dirt track.
2022 Orchid Stakes
Family Way struck gold easily
The G3 turf race was open to four-year-old fillies and older mares who competed for the purse of $150,000 going the distance of a mile and a half (12 furlongs). Family Way (9-5) was the losing favorite last time out when she just missed her premiere Graded victory, but on Saturday, she struck gold easily.
The Brendan Walsh trained five-year-old had a peaceful gallop in the midpack, and once Tyler Gaffalione asked for more in the final stretch, Family Way rallied forward effortlessly. Crossing the wire in 2:29.08, she bettered second Harajuku (3-1) by one and ¾ of a length, while Harajuku just couldn’t hold a candle to her, fighting successfully only for a second-place she snatched up in front of third Beautiful Lover (33-10).
The race unfolded quite favorably for the favorite as she settled in fourth and then in fifth, unlike some of her rivals who despised the slow pace and rushed forward too early. Family Way didn’t mind it at all, and when the closing stages came, she charged for the lead like last time out. This time, she confirmed her progress and currently looks like a decent G3 mare. Harajuku had a good run as well, but in the final stretch, she couldn’t get closer to the victress, which was the case of the third Beautiful Lover, too.
2022 Ghostzapper Stakes
Fearless gets his second G3 triumph
Also, this G3 race saw the victory of a favorite as Fearless (3-10) scored the dirt event held at the distance of a mile and furlong. The purse of $100,000 attracted a field of seven four-year-old and older horses, but one scratched, and the pace-setting participant pulled up, so among five remaining contestants, Fearless had no problems on his journey to the second G3 triumph in his career. After galloping in second, he took command in the final turn and drew clear from his rivals to win in 1:50.03. Six lengths behind the favorite, Capocostello (8-1) outran Greatest Honour (17-5) to grab second.
The Todd Pletcher-bound six-year-old Fearless is a reliable Graded performer, and even though he carried the biggest weight here, he was expected to win as he was also the classiest participant. He simply looked like the winner from the beginning, while his most serious rival Greatest Honour stumbled out of the gate and tried to improve his position when turning wide, upon which he had nothing much to offer in the final stretch. It seemed he had second-place secured, but then Capocostello ventured forward from the outside (and the rear of the field), finishing strongly and denying Greatest Honour second place.
By this success, Fearless honored his sire, Ghostzapper, whom the race is named after.
2022 Pan American Stakes
Gufo back to the races
Gufo (13-10) fulfilled the role of a favorite in this G2 turf race, offering the purse of $200,000. Although Abaan (23-10) was the initial leading chance in this mile and a half-long event, Gufo jumped out of the gate as the main victory candidate in the field of four-year-old and older horses despite running for the first time in 2022.
Spending the race at the rear of the field as usual, his jockey Joel Rosario knew he could rely on the finish of his mount, which five-year-old Gufo delivered in the final stretch to score by two lengths in 2:27.2. Abaan charged for the lead in the last turn but was no match for the winner and he had to settle for second in front of Novo Sol (44-5).
Having won two G1 races in the past, it’s no wonder Gufo managed to succeed in this race for his trainer Christophe Clement; still, his effort was eye-catching as he simply cruised for the victory, passing by all of his rivals smoothly. Smart Abaan galloped in third most of the race, took command in the final turn but couldn’t hold off the flying chestnut on the outside, but was sure ahead of third Novo Sol, who ran a big race here, leaving Temple (4-1) behind in fourth. Outside Bakers Bay (38-1) was fifth.
2022 Kitten’s Joy Appleton Stakes
Phanton Currency powerful victory
On the turf surface, seven four-year-old and older horses clashed at the distance of a mile, vying for the purse of $100,000. Despite being out since February 2021, six-year-old Phanton Currency (27-10) delivered a powerful performance here, leading the pack and scoring the race gate-to-wire in 1:34.48. As he triumphed in the G2 Mac Diarmida in the previous season, his Saturday success wasn’t surprising.
Still, it’s excellent work by his trainer, Brian Lynch, to bring the gelding back in such form as Phanton Currency dug deep in the closing stages, fighting off second Wolfie’s Dynaghost (36-5) by half of a length. It was quite a narrow finish, given Wolfie Dynaghost was trying hard to close on the favorite, while the third Carpenters Call (5-1) strived to improve on the outside, too. He came home just another half of a length behind the second horse.
Phantom Currency put up a brave performance on Saturday, and hopefully, he stays in shape after this effort to show off his talent again sooner than in another fourteen months. The second and third participants ran a good race, unlike English Bee (33-10), who managed only fifth this time, being also bettered by fourth Gray’s Fable (29-5).
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