Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up Untamed Domain was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach (G3), but his late rally brought him no closer than third in a race dominated by talented pace factors at Gulfstream Park. Bold front runner Gidu was accosted by Speed Franco rounding the far turn, a terrific duel ensued, and the savvier Speed Franco just prevailed.
Trained by Gustavo Delgado for Grupo 7C Racing Stable, Speed Franco had three runs under his belt, all at a route of ground on this course, and boasted a six-length romp in the December 9 Pulpit. Gidu, a €410,000 son of Frankel, was making his two-turn and stakes debut after a pair of turf sprints. Zayat Stables’ Triple Crown nominee used his brilliant speed again, but couldn’t quite last home in a salty renewal.
Gidu, the 2-1 second choice, dashed clear through an opening quarter in :22.66 on a “good” course. The 4-1 Speed Franco began to close the gap at the half in :46.99, drew up to Gidu’s flank through six furlongs in 1:10.94, and kept up relentless pressure all the way to the wire. Ultimately forcing his head in front, Speed Franco finished the mile in 1:36.28 beneath Emisael Jaramillo.
Untamed Domain made his customary move from off the pace, and the 122-pound highweight gained ground to report home 2 3/4 lengths behind Gidu. The original plan called for the Animal Kingdom colt to use this reappearance as a springboard onto the Kentucky Derby trail. Watch out for him going turf-to-dirt next, since he’s likely to build upon a solid effort here. Untamed Domain was 4 1/2 lengths ahead of fourth-placer Channel Cat.
Speed Franco has passed the post first in every start at a mile, but he was demoted to second for interference in his September 23 unveiling. After leading much of the way in his Pulpit tour de force, he was held up off the pace in the 7 1/2-furlong Kitten’s Joy, and wound up sixth in a blanket finish. Allowing him to stride forward is apparently the way to go for the $170,000 Keeneland September yearling, who now sports a mark of 4-2-1-0, $112,830.
Yet another notable winner from the first crop of Declaration of War, Speed Franco was bred in Kentucky by Ice Wine Stables. He is also the first foal from the Street Sense mare Nabat Seif, herself a half-sister to multiple Group 1 hero Aljabr. Speed Franco’s second dam is multiple Group 1 queen Sierra Madre, by Baillamont, giving him 4×4 inbreeding to Blushing Groom.
If Untamed Domain’s trainer Graham Motion and rider Jose Ortiz were out of luck in the Dania Beach, they’d previously struck in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) with Thewayiam, thereby snapping Chad Brown’s streak in this race.
The French-bred drifted up to 9-2 odds despite her good-looking score over the course last out in the Ginger Brew. Bettors preferred Brown’s Data Dependent, bet down to 8-5 favoritism for a trainer who’d won the last six runnings.
Thewayiam, saving ground from her rail draw, was reserved near the latter part of the field. Through the first half-mile, she was trailed only by Data Dependent and the other Brown trainee, slow-starting French import Salsa Bella.
Up front, the 32-1 My Favorite Gift carved out splits of :24.35, :49.11, and 1:13.09, and continued to hold sway into the stretch. But Thewayiam had ample room to maneuver into the clear turning for home, quickened smartly to take command, and clocked the mile in 1:36.90.
Salsa Bella deployed a nifty turn of foot in the lane herself to grab second, and a better break may well have altered the result. In the circumstances, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. had to settle for rounding out the brotherly exacta. Andina Del Sur outfinished the tiring My Favorite Gift for third. Data Dependent never factored in seventh of nine.
Thewayiam has now bankrolled $171,426 from her 7-4-0-1 line. The daughter of Thewayyouare began her career in France, breaking her maiden at La Teste de Buch second time out and placing third in the Prix Roland de Chambure. Since her acquisition by Great Point Stables, Dubb, The Elkestone Group, and Bethlehem Stables, Thewayiam has won three of four U.S. outings. She landed a second-level allowance at Keeneland in her premiere, then turned in a rare flub when 11th in Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante (G3), but rebounded at Gulfstream.
Bred by SCA La Perrigne, Thewayiam was a €17,000 Arqana October yearling purchase by original trainer Yan Durepaire. She is the second stakes winner produced by the Dansili mare Water Feature, who is also responsible for Lady Heidi, who beat the boys in the 2013 Silver Tankard at Pontefract. A couple of future globetrotters were behind her – Safety Check and Bow Creek. Water Feature is an unraced half-sister to Group 1 star Tenby, from the immediate family of Group 2 winner Exosphere (aka Exospheric in Australia).