Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It, last season’s top Florida-bred juvenile, is now poised for the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail after a gutsy victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park. The 3-5 favorite was collared by As Seen on Tv, but came again to force his head in front at the wire, and survived an objection to preserve his tenacious victory.
Proving himself in open company for the first time, Chance It was also capping stakes hat tricks for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. They earlier teamed up to take the $75,000 Glitter Woman with Sound Machine, and each also won a turf stakes with other connections.
“Today is great,” Joseph told Gulfstream publicity. “This is the one I needed, though. If he got beat, I wouldn’t sleep. I thought he was beat at the eighth pole, I really did. He switched leads and he just dug in for that something extra. That’s the heart of a champion. I don’t want to call him a champion, because he has to earn it, but that’s the quality of a horse that becomes a champion.”
Chance It hadn’t raced since his 7 1/4-length demolition job in the In Reality division of the Florida Sire S. on Sept. 28. Joseph planned to give him a chance at a higher level in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), only for the colt to come down with a cough and fever. Plan B was the Remington Springboard Mile, until a quarantine at that track posed logistical hurdles.
Thus Chance It ended up returning to action as a newly turned 3-year-old at his home track. Letting 14-1 Smash Factor go ahead through swift fractions of :22.42 and :45.10, Chance It and As Seen on Tv bided their time in the stalking role.
The pacesetter was done on the far turn, engulfed on either side by the main protagonists. The 6-1 As Seen on Tv passed on the outside, while Chance It stuck to the rail for Gaffalione. The maneuver worked as the weary Smash Factor came out, and Chance It cut the corner to challenge As Seen on Tv.
The match race was on. As Seen on Tv appeared to hold the upper hand until Chance It found more, and the two put on a terrific duel to the wire. As Seen on Tv’s trainer, Kelly Breen, lodged an objection for interference in upper stretch, but the stewards disallowed it upon review.
Sole Volante was the only rival in the picture, 2 1/4 lengths astern in his dirt debut. Another seven lengths back in fourth came South Bend, trailed by Inter Miami, Smash Factor, and Ashaar.
Chance It, who negotiated the one-turn mile in 1:35.53, has bankrolled $444,910 from a 6-4-2-0 line compiled entirely at Gulfstream. After a second on debut, the bay crushed a maiden and passed his first stakes test in the Dr. Fager division of the Florida Sire S. Chance It was bet down to 3-10 favoritism in the Affirmed division, succumbed by a head, but roared back in the In Reality.
Joseph is pointing Chance It for a Derby points race at Gulfstream, either the Feb. 2 Holy Bull (G3) or Feb. 29 Fountain of Youth (G2).
Bred by Bett Usher, the son of Currency Swap and the Pleasantly Perfect mare Vagabon Diva hails from the extended family of Grade 2 winner Buffythecenterfold.
Joseph scored in the day’s graded event, the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy (G3) on turf, with Matthew Schera’s Island Commish. The stablemate of Chance It used to race for the same ownership too, until Schera acquired him from Shooting Star last fall.
It paid to be on the pace in this spot, and jockey Paco Lopez had the 6-1 chance prompting the 11-1 shot Get Smokin throughout. Island Commish wore down the longtime leader by a half-length, finishing the 7 1/2-furlong affair on firm turf in 1:28.25.
The 3-1 Summer to Remember, well placed in third, found himself caught for speed when the leaders sprinted away. Staying on in the stretch, he held third by a half-length from 2-1 favorite Irish Mias, who rallied from farther back in the pack.
Island Commish broke his maiden for a $35,000 tag, most recently landed a pair of starter/optional claiming races at Gulfstream Park West, and now sports a mark of 6-4-0-1, $129,740. From the first crop of Commissioner, the Kentucky-bred bay is out of Bide a Wee Island, a half-sister by Sligo Bay to multiple Canadian Grade 2 hero Something Extra.
In the $100,000 Ginger Brew, the companion turf stakes for sophomore fillies, Gaffalione steered the Christophe Clement-trained She’s My Type to a 9-1 upset of Moral Reasoning and Abscond.
The French import, coming off a late-running debut victory here Dec. 7, uncorked a similar charge. Wrangled back from her outside post 11, She’s My Type made good headway on the far turn and rolled to the front in the stretch. The 5-2 Moral Reasoning gained steadily to miss by a neck, with 2-1 favorite Abscond a close and troubled third.
“She’s a really talented filly,” Gaffalione said of She’s My Type, who clocked 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:28.12. “She overcame a lot today. I didn’t give her the best of trips. I moved a little early on her. I tried to get out on the turn. I didn’t want to wait too long and get boxed in. She had such a turn of foot and so much raw ability. All the credit goes to Mr. Clement. He’s been telling me for a while how nice she is. She proved it today.”
A homebred campaigned by Ghislaine Head of Haras du Quesnay, She’s My Type is a three-quarter sister to a past Clement performer, multiple Grade 2 victor and near-millionaire Blacktype. Both are by Dunkerque, and Blacktype is a half to She’s My Type’s dam, Theoricienne. That Kendor mare is also responsible for Hungarian champion Tour to Paris. She’s My Type, inbred 3×3 to Kenmare and now 2-for-2, has earned $82,280.
Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred Shivaree extended his winning streak to three, all with Emisael Jaramillo aboard, in the $75,000 Limehouse S.
The Ralph Nicks trainee had used his early speed in his last two, a maiden romp and a hard-fought decision in the Buffalo Man S. On Saturday, however, Shivaree worked out a different trip as the 3-5 favorite. Drawn on the rail, he couldn’t keep up with the torrid pace. Instead he kept on down the lane to overtake a hard-trying Ricki Ticki Taffi. Shivaree drew 3 1/4 lengths clear while completing 6 furlongs in 1:10.91 and improved his mark to 7-3-0-1, $145,155.
“The post was a concern, and they outfooted him,” Nicks recapped. “Fortunately, he was able to get out and he stayed steady. They went very fast in front of him and kudos to Emisael for staying busy around the turn because if he gets too far back away from them, I don’t think he catches up. He’s just steady. He has kind of a high speed to him, but not really, really fast. He stays even; he doesn’t give up.”
By Awesome of Course, the Florida-bred is out of multiple stakes victress Garter Belt, an Anasheed half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Jackson Bend. Garter Belt has produced four other stakes performers, notably multiple stakes scorers Garter and Tie and Twotwentyfive A (a full brother to Shivaree).
The companion Glitter Woman produced the day’s most lopsided stakes result, with Sound Machine stamping her class by 6 1/2 lengths. The e Five Racing Thoroughbreds runner was overturned last time out by Spanish Point in the House Party, but Joseph noted that she was training more forwardly going into the rematch.
Bettors sent off both fillies at 9-5. Spanish Point, slightly favored, couldn’t confirm the form as Sound Machine was back to her best. Tracking early leader Sayonara Baby, Sound Machine essentially said that to the field turning for home and finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.35. Sayonara Baby held second by 1 1/2 lengths from Spanish Point.
Sound Machine, a $500,000 Keeneland September yearling, advanced her resume to 4-2-1-0, $89,164. By recently crowned champion sire Into Mischief – also the sire of Saturday’s Sham (G3) conqueror Authentic – the Florida-bred is a half to Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Forever Liesl. Their dam, Ava Pie, is a daughter of Distorted Humor and multiple Grade 3 vixen Lakenheath, herself the dam of graded performers Decorated Soldier and The Truth or Else.