Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart took command of Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) under jockey Julien Leparoux and held on to secure a neck victory as the 5-2 favorite.
The bay son of English Channel was looking to rebound after a dismal seventh-place run while making his seven-year-old debut in the January 13 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream. The Ontario-bred reared at the start of that 8 1/2-furlong contest and lost all chance, but showed his true colors on Saturday.
Breaking from the rail post, Heart to Heart grabbed the lead and proceeded in front through fractions :24.15, :48.74, 1:12.08 and 1:35.49. One Go All Go was keen to go and tracked in second just outside while the South American-bred duo of Hi Happy and Kurilov followed a little farther behind.
The quartet continued in that way down the backstretch until nearing the turn, when Kurilov went inside and Hi Happy outside of One Go All Go. Hi Happy was carried wide and lost ground on the bend as Kurilov set his sights on the leader.
Heart to Heart continued motoring in the lane and held for the neck score over Kurilov. He paid $7.20 for finishing 1 1/8 miles over the firm Gulfstream turf in 1:47.64.
The field was tightly knit at the finish. Kurilov had three parts of a length to spare on Hi Happy, who managed to re-rally outside of One Go All Go to hold that rival to fourth by three-quarters length on the wire. Channel Maker followed by a neck in fifth while Revved Up was another three parts of a length behind in sixth. A neck farther back came Money Multiplier and March filled out the eight-horse field a head adrift of that 5-2 second choice.
Heart to Heart is now 14-5-3 from 34 career starts and has banked $1,737,290 in lifetime earnings. Honored with a Sovereign Award as the 2014 Canadian champion three-year-old male, the Brian Lynch trainee boasts 12 stakes wins, including the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) and Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) from last year, and seven black-type placings. Among those placings are four Grade 1 contests – the 2016-17 editions of the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) as well as last season’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and Shoemaker Mile (G1).
Bred in Canada by Red Hawk Ranch, Heart to Heart is out of the Silver Deputy mare Ask the Question. His fourth dam is Irish champion two-year-old filly *Fair Astronomer, from whom is descended Grade 1 winners Anka Germania and Mourjane.
One race later, Elysea’s World rallied for a neck score in the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3) with Javier Castellano in the irons for trainer Chad Brown.
The duo bided their time about two wide down the backstretch in midpack as Midnight Crossing set the pace through splits of :24.61, :48.88 and 1:12.11. Dream Awhile tracked in second with Ultra Brat and Kitten’s Roar in the third flight.
Dream Awhile ranged up to take over rounding the turn while Elysea’s World went widest of all and Ultra Brat looked for room down on the inside. Kitten’s Roar was giving it her all, but couldn’t make up ground as Elysea’s World flew up to nip Dream Awhile on the wire of the nine-furlong grass affair in a final time of 1:47.75.
Campaigned by Sheep Pond Partners and All Pro Racing LLC, Elysea’s World was sent off the 7-2 second choice and paid $9.60 for the win. Ultra Brat was in tight down on the rail but never gave up, finishing a half-length behind in third. Kitten’s Joy completed the top four under the line another 1 3/4 lengths behind, while Westit, Flipcup, Dream Dancing, Midnight Crossing and Beauty rounded out the order of finish.
Elysea’s World earned her first stakes win in this spot, improving her record to read 17-4-5-2, $423,324. The five-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees entered the Suwannee River off a runner-up effort in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park on December 30, and shows placings in six other graded contests, including last year’s running of the Suwannee River.
Bred in Ireland by Haras d’Haspel, Elysea’s World is out of the unraced Singspiel mare Ideal World. Her fourth dam is multiple stakes heroine Big Dreams, who is best known for producing two-time champion sprinter and successful sire Housebuster.