Gulfstream Park offered five stakes for new 3-year-olds on Saturday, including the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man. The one-turn mile test has produced Kentucky Derby participants the last two years, including Code of Honor, who was placed second via disqualification in the 2019 Run for the Roses.
Mucho Macho Man Stakes
After a couple of turf stakes appearances, Mutasaabeq switched back to the main track and recorded a 1 1/2-length win. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt will be on the Kentucky Derby trail in the coming months.
Luis Saez was up on the Shadwell Stables colorbearer, and Mutasaabeq was more prominent during the early stages, stalking pacesetter Awesome Gerry in second through an early tempo in :23.70 and :46.15. The 11-10 favorite edged forward to take a short lead in upper stretch, and Mutasaabeq turned back a rally from runner-up Papetu to prevail comfortably in the end.
The Into Mischief colt stopped the teletimer in 1:35.98.
Papetu, who was off at 20-1, held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Awesome Gerry. Pickin’ Time, Ultimate Badger, Big Thorn, Raison d’Air, Easy Time, and Kiger came next under the wire.
Bred by BlackRidge Farm in Kentucky, Mutasaabeq is out of the Scat Daddy mare Downside Scenario. The bay youngster won his first outing by 4 1/2 lengths over maiden rivals on Saratoga’s main track. After a well-beaten third in the Hopeful (G1), Mutasaabeq switched to turf to capture the Bourbon (G2) at Keeneland.
He broke slowly and never challenged when recording an unplaced finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and Mutasaabeq will now try to earn points toward a Kentucky Derby berth.
Dania Beach Stakes
Kentucky Pharoah continued his ascension in the turf ranks with an impressive three-length victory in the $75,000 Dania Beach S., dominating on the lead with Julien Leparoux.
Jack Sisterson trains the Calumet Farm homebred, who left the starting gate as 3-1 second choice in a six-horse field, and the American Pharoah colt completed a mile on the firm ground in 1:34.07.
Well-beaten in his first two dirt starts, Kentucky Pharoah rolled to a 3 3/4-length maiden win when switching to turf at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 19. The chestnut came back from a 14-day rest, establishing splits in :23.60 and :46.80, and he finished full of run while drawing off in the stretch.
Fighting Force, the 3-5 favorite, was never a factor chasing the winner in second. Cave Hill was third, and Lauda Speed, It’s a Gamble, and Omaha City completed the order.
Kentucky Pharoah is first foal to race out of Canadian champion and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Strut the Course, a daughter of Strut the Stage.
Ginger Brew Stakes
Con Lima made all the running for Pletcher in the $75,000 Ginger Brew S., winning the mile turf test for fillies by 3 1/4 lengths. Runner-up in her first two stakes attempts, which were both moved to the main track, the Commissioner filly has now won two straight on turf for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph Graffeo, Eric Nikolaus, and Troy Johnson.
She sped clear from the starting gate with Paco Lopez, reeling off fractions in :23.95 and :47.55. Con Lima led by about three lengths in upper stretch, and cruised home in 1:35.23.
The dark bay left the starting gate as the 2-1 second choice following a 5 1/4-length romp over entry-level allowance/optional claiming opponents at Gulfstream on Dec. 12.
Honey Pants, the 3-2 favorite, rallied for second, a head better than 9-2 Designer Ready. I Get It, Inthewinnerscircle, Karakatsie, Viking Queen, and Sweet Pearl rounded out the finish.
Bred in Texas by Lisa Kuhlmann, Con Lima is out of the stakes-winning Consolidator mare Second Street City.
Drain the Clock made short work of his six rivals in the $75,000 Limehouse S. on the main track, rolling by a 7 1/2-length margin in the 6-furlong event. The chestnut was the 19-10 choice, and he was timed in 1:10.11.
Edgard Zayas guided the front-running Maclean’s Music colt, and Drain the Clock has been favored in all four starts for owner Slam Dunk Racing and Joseph Saffie Jr.
An easy winner of his first two starts, Drain the Clock rebounded after being knocked out of the Nov. 30 Jean-Lafitte S. at Delta Downs due to an equipment failure, losing the jockey on the backstretch when his iron broke.
Tiger stalked the winner before starting to lose ground in upper stretch, but he held second at 8-1. Next came Runway Magic, Newyearsblockparty, Highway Bound, and Ocean Ride.
Bred in Kentucky by Nick Cosato, Drain the Clock is out of the Arch mare Manki.
Glitter Woman Stakes
John Minchello’s Competitive Speed rallied to overhaul pacesetter Shop Girl in upper stretch and drove to a three-length upset in the $75,000 Glitter Woman S. Overlooked at 9-1 among six fillies, Competitive Speed stretched her win streak to three and finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.
Leonel Reyes was up for trainer Javier Gonzalez. The Kentucky-bred Competitive Edge filly was purchased for $5,000 at the OBS Summer 2-year-old sale.
After dropping her first start at the maiden special weight level, Competitive Speed earned her first win over $25,000 maiden claiming foes at Gulfstream Park in mid-November. The chestnut was exiting a 4 1/2-length romp in an entry-level allowance/optional claimer at Gulfstream on Dec. 6.
Shop Girl held second at 7-1. It was 6 1/2 lengths to third-placer Gone to Cabo, who was followed by 3-5 favorite Hit the Woah, Dial to Win, and Lucifers Lair.