Trainer Todd Pletcher had one of the horses to beat for the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2) in the speedy Halladay, but it was the less heralded Largent who took advantage of that stablemate’s hot pace and scored a convincing, come-from-behind win by two lengths on a stakes-laden Gulfstream Park card on Saturday.
Making his graded stakes debut, Largent was settled as much as 7 1/2 lengths off a pace of :23.22, :46.34, and 1:09.62 set by Halladay, with 2-1 favorite Factor This his closest pursuer. In the stretch, both Halladay and Factor This proved spent forces. Rushing from the back with a five-wide rally was Largent, who out-finished fellow longshot Breaking the Rules and drew off to victory under Paco Lopez in a time of 1:46.16 for 1 1/8 miles over the good turf.
Owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Largent paid $35.80. Doswell, a 15-1 chance, edged the 10-1 Breaking the Rules for second by a nose. Completing the order of finish were Spooky Channel, Tide of the Sea, Halladay, Factor This, Somelikeithotbrown, and Delaware.
“He’s always loved Gulfstream,” said Pletcher of Largent, who had won three of his four previous starts over the local turf. “We just felt it was the right time to step up. He’d been training great.”
After graduating and passing his first two allowance conditions over the Gulfstream turf, Largent competed in three restricted stakes over the summer and fall. In between victories in the Edward P. Evans S. at Colonial Downs and the Bert Allen S. at Laurel, the 4-year-old gelding finished second in the Lure S. at Saratoga. He now heads toward a possible start in next month’s Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) with a record of 9-6-3-0, $314,470.
Bred by Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia, Largent is an Into Mischief half-brother to multiple stakes winner Kona Blend. Both were produced by Life in Seattle, a daughter of Unbridled and multiple Grade 1 winner Life at the Top. Farther back, this family produced dual classic winner and champion Bold Forbes.
Earlier in the card, the New York-bred Niko’s Dream sprung a 13-1 upset of the $75,000 My Charmer Stakes for fillies and mares, rallying for a 1 1/2-length victory over Tuned. Art of Almost ran third, while 3-2 favorite Lady Lawyer ran sixth in the field of seven.
Owned by Sackatoga Stable and trained by Barlcay Tagg, Niko’s Dream paid $29.20 after covering 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:41.82 under Junior Alvarado. It was the first stakes win for the 4-year-old daughter of Central Banker.