February 24, 2024

Major Dude, Cairo Consort rally for Kitten’s Joy, Sweetest Chant; General Jim best late in Swale

Major Dude rolls late in the Kitten's Joy (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

Gulfstream Park offered a quintet of graded stakes for three-year-olds on Saturday, including the Holy Bull (G3) and Forward Gal (G3) for Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1) hopefuls. The South Florida venue also featured the Kitten’s Joy (G3) and Sweetest Chant (G3) for turf runners, and the Swale (G3) for dirt sprinters.

Kitten’s Joy (G3)

Major Dude launched his move entering the stretch of the $175,000 Kitten’s Joy, closing boldly down the center of the course to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths. Irad Ortiz Jr. was up for Spendthrift Farm and Todd Pletcher on the 7-5 favorite, and Major Dude bounced back after opening his sophomore season with a runner-up in the Jan. 7 Dania Beach.

By leading first-crop sire Bolt d’Oro, Major Dude captured the Pilgrim (G2) at Aqueduct when switching to turf last October and finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland. He improved his record to 7-3-1-1 when completing the 1 1/16-mile affair in 1:40.22 on good turf.

Candidate, the 2.20-1 second choice after stretching his win stretch to three with a wire-to-wire win in the Dania Beach, didn’t make the early lead but offered a good run from just off the pace for second, 1 1/2 lengths better than pacesetter Dude N Colorado. Boppy O, Souzak, Congruent, Lights of Broadway, and Moon Cat completed the order.

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms (Bernard and Eamonn Cleary), Major Dude brought a $550,000 sales price at the 2019 Saratoga August yearling sale. He’s out of the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare Mary Rita, and this is the immediate female family of unbeaten champion and Broodmare of the Year Personal Ensign.

Sweetest Chant (G3)

Cairo Consort flew home late in the $175,000 Sweetest Chant, overcoming a disastrous start to win by nearly a length in eye-catching fashion. The gray filly tossed her head sideways and completely missed the break, spotting her nearest rival more than five lengths with the tardy beginning. She trailed in last until the conclusion of the far turn, angling out in midstretch while rapidly advancing, and flew home to overtake Alpha Bella in the final yards.

Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. recorded his third win of the afternoon aboard the Pletcher-trained daughter of Cairo Prince, and Cairo Consort left the starting gate as the 2.20-1 favorite in the nine-horse field. She was timed in 1:40.95.

Repole Stable and Town and Country Racing purchased Cairo Consort for $875,000 at the 2022 Keeneland November sale. Previously trained by Nathan Squires, Cairo Consort broke her maiden on Woodine’s turf and recorded a victory in the Catch a Glimpse S. and a second in the Natalma (G1) before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Keeneland, her first start outside of Canada.

She was exiting a fast-closing win in her initial outing for new connections, the Jan. 7 Ginger Brew S., and Cairo Consort now owns an 8-4-1-2 career ledger.

Alpha Bella, a 16-1 outsider who rallied from just off the pace to take the lead in midstretch, wound up three-quarters of a length better than 5-2 second choice Heavenly Sunday. Next came Metaphysical, Bulsara, Malleymoo, Stephanie’s Charm, Padma, and Sweetlou’sgraces.

Bred in Kentucky by Franfort Park Farm, Cairo Consort hails from a classy female family. Her dam, the unraced Street Cry mare Absolutely Awesome, is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Awesome Maria, and Cairo Consort counts Grade 1 winner Pretty Discreet, dam of Grade 1 winners Discreet Cat and Discreetly Mine, as her third maternal broodmare.

Swale (G3)

General Jim ran down odds-on Super Chow in deep stretch to score by a length in the $125,000 Swale (G3), rebounding from a troubled fourth as the favorite in the Mucho Macho Man S. on Jan. 1. The Shug McGaughey-trained colt added blinkers and left the starting gate as the 8-5 second choice among five three-year-olds, completing seven furlongs in 1:23.34 with Luis Saez.

Owned by Courtlandt Farms, General Jim registered his first stakes and dirt win. The Into Mischief colt broke his maiden when switching to turf the second time out and rolled to a convincing win in an entry-level allowance before recording a third as the favorite in the grassy Central Park S. at Aqueduct in late November. General Jim’s career line now reads 6-3-0-2.

Super Chow, off at 4-5 following sprint stakes wins in the Bowman Mill at Keeneland, Inaugural at Tampa Bay Downs, and Jan. 1 Limehouse at Gulfstream, established splits in :22.69 and :45.31 on a clear lead before giving way in the final stages. The pacesetter easily held second, 11 lengths clear of Two of a Kind, who was followed by Keanu and Aaraj.

General Jim was purchased for $850,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale. The Kentucky-bred is out of the stakes-placed Curlin mare Inspired by Grace, a full-sister to Grade 1 winner Off the Tracks and half-sibling to Grade 2 scorer Concord Point.