Somethingelse Produces Emotion-Charged Ginger Punch Score
Jun 17, 2017
Honors the Memory of the Beloved South Florida Trainer Manny Azpurua
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Somethingelse held off a two-pronged challenge in the stretch to register a narrow, emotion-charged victory in the $100,000 Ginger Punch Stakes at Gulfstream Park Saturday. The Leo Azpurua Jr-trained filly collected her first career stakes victory while honoring the memory of her trainer’s uncle, Manny Azpurua, the beloved 88-year-old South Florida trainer who passed away on Tuesday.
“I want to dedicate this race to my uncle, Manuel Azpurua. He was very supportive, along with my father, in my racing career,” said Leo Azpurua, who was joined by many friends and family members in the winner’s circle. “I want to make sure this race is dedicated just to him. To me, this was more than just winning. It was winning for him.”
Somethingelse, the 9-5 second choice, finished a half-length in front of Bitacora, who was another neck ahead of Family Meeting, the 7-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares.
After finishing in the money in three-straight stakes, Somethingelse registered a breakthrough victory under a well-judged ride by Edgard Zayas, who positioned the 4-year-old daughter of Leroidesanimaux perfectly outside longshot pacesetter My Little Princess during pedestrian fractions of 26.57 seconds and 52.83 for the first half-mile.
“I told him, ‘If there’s pace, it’s in your hands. If there’s no pace, make a run after stalking, and make a run like she always does. When the fractions are 26 and 52, you can’t be waiting for anybody,” Azpurua said.
Somethingelse took the lead on the far turn and showed the way into the stretch under a confident Zayas, as Family Meeting, who edged the Azpurua-trained filly by a head in the Distaff Turf at Tampa Bay Downs April 2, looming dangerously to her outside under Tyler Gaffalione. Zayas asked Somethingelse for her kick, and she responded holding off the favorite, as well as a late-charging Bitacora and jockey Roberto Alvarado Jr., who had to settle for second money.
Somethingelse’s triumph, accomplished in 1:44.68 for 1 1/16 miles over a turf course upgraded to firm, was an emotional one for her jockey, as well as her trainer. Manny Azpurua was a strong supporter of Zayas during his apprenticeship.
“This is very special to me. Manny was a great man and a great trainer. When I got to the U.S. he was one of the first guys to help me. I won my first stakes for Manny,” said the Puerto Rico native, who won his first stakes aboard the Manny Azpurua-trained Street Girl in the 2013 Calder Oaks. “He was a special person.”
Somethingelse collected her fourth victory of her 12-race career, during which she has finished off-the-board only once and has finished in-the-money in all 10 races over the Gulfstream turf.
Her first stakes victory for owners Randy Bradshaw and Commonwealth Stable was worth $60,760, which boosted her career earnings to $209,040.
“This was a milestone that we wanted to get through,” Azpurua said. “She’s been a bridesmaid, close but no cigar. Now we have the cigar so we’ll look and see what we have and keep our options open. I just want to keep her record going strong as it is and put her in the right places.”