Lochte Storms to Third Straight Win in Tropical Turf Handicap (G3)
Nov 24, 2015
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Neither the weather nor the competition was enough to slow down Crossed Sabres Farm’s Grade 1 winner Lochte, who stormed to a decisive four-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park West.
It was the third consecutive win, all in stakes, for the 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding, who jockey Matt Rispoli kept close to the lead during the 1 1/16-mile turf race, contested during a driving rainstorm. Lochte returned $8.
Longshot leaders Inchcape and Flashlight took the field through cautious early fractions of 25.37 seconds for the quarter mile and 53.19 for the half before Lochte, kept in the clear down the backstretch, moved effortlessly to the front after running six furlongs in 1:18.57.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better trip,” Rispoli said. “I kind of just stayed in the best part of the track which was the three path, it seemed like. I just sat against him the whole way and coming to the three-eighths pole, I felt like I was driving a Ferrari, to tell you the truth.”
Lochte steadily edged away down the stretch, separating from the field past the eighth pole to hit the wire in 1:50.95. Flashlight stayed up for second, with 62-1 long shot Amigo closing fast to take third by a neck over Key to Power.
All Power, favored at 7-5 in the field of nine, was fifth, followed by multiple stakes winner Kharafa, Inchcape, South American Group 3 winner Take the Stand and Good and Proper.
“I wasn’t too afraid of the wet turf. He’ll like a wet turf, this horse. This was a little more than wet,” winning trainer Marcus Vitali said. “I saw him splashing through there and it looked like Matt made the right decisions today. I kind of left it up to him. I told him if it was a rough trip and he didn’t handle it, just take care of him and we’ll live for another day. He told me he was running well and he felt good, and when he asked on him, he exploded.
“Everything went his way today,” he added. “Horses start slipping and sliding. Anything can happen, and I figured [it would be best] if we were up out of trouble early He’s kind of a horse that you can put where you want him. I do like to usually tuck him in behind horses and let him make one big run. Matt made the right decisions, and the outcome was a good one.”
Trained by Todd Pletcher, All Included was coming off a pair of narrow losses in graded stakes and was reunited with jockey Javier Castellano, who had won each of the three previous races he rode the 4-year-old colt. Racing along the inside, they stayed within three lengths of the lead until fading as they turned for home.
“It was unbelievable. It was crazy. It’s nothing we can control,” Castellano said. “Unfortunately, it poured so hard. It rained so hard in such a short time. The horses were splashing and most of the horses didn’t like it much. My horse, he likes it soft don’t get me wrong, but not that kind of soft.”
The win was the ninth from 32 career starts for Lochte and fifth in 13 starts this year, following the Oct. 25 Spider John at Gulfstream Park West and the Sept. 27 Mr. Steele at Gulfstream Park. Upset winner of the 2014 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), his previous graded win came in the January 24 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3).
“We’re going to give him a little time and see how he comes out of the race. You know me, if they’re doing good and eating good and training good, we run them,” Vitali said. “We’re not here for the season, we’re here for a reason.”