Trainer Celebrates ‘Successful’ Birthday in $75,000 Janus Stakes
Jan 1, 2018
Successful Native Leads All the Way in Five-Furlong Turf Sprint
Victory Gives Jockey Gaffalione Sweep of New Year’s Day Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Marco Thoroughbred Corp’s Successful Native gave trainer Aubrey Maragh a 50th birthday present to remember with a front-running 2 ¼-length victory in the $75,000 Janus Stakes Monday at Gulfstream Park.
The Janus for 4-year-olds and up and the $75,000 Abundantia for fillies and mares 4 and older, both at five furlongs on turf, highlighted the 11-race New Year’s Day program.
It was the second straight win and fifth career stakes victory for Successful Native ($12.80), a 7-year-old son of Successful Appeal who completed the distance in 55.35 seconds over a firm turf course.
The victory also gave jockey Tyler Gaffalione a sweep of the day’s stakes after taking the Abundantia aboard graded-stakes winner Code Warrior ($18.60) five races earlier for trainer Mike DePaulo.
“He’s had his little issues but we gave him some time and he’s come back fresh. He’s always been a good horse,” Maragh said amid a large gathering in the winner’s circle. “He ran huge. This is special.”
Breaking from Post 4 in the field of seven, Gaffalione sent Successful Native straight to the front where they led through an opening quarter-mile in 22.01 seconds chased by Platinum Prince and Flashaway, the latter making his first start in 16 months.
Successful Native remained in control after a half in 43.95 seconds, and opened up on his rivals once straightened for home. Grade 3 winner Hogy, the 8-5 favorite, made a belated run to get second, a length ahead of Vision Perfect.
“I thought he was going to be on the lead,” Maragh said. “I told the rider to put him on the lead and he will finish, and he did.”
Gaffalione never had an anxious moment with Successful Native, who was off for 12 months before returning in mid-September. He now owns nine wins and topped $500,000 in purse earnings from 24 career starts including the 2016 Bonita and Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and 2015 Claiming Crown Canterbury and Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint.
“Aubrey and his team sent him out ready today. All he said was, ‘Put him in front and they won’t get him today,’” Gaffalione said. “The horse has so much class and tries so hard every time.”
Gaffalione also took the sixth race aboard Mike Maker-trained Markitoff ($27.60) and added a fourth win with Furiosa ($8.40) in the 10th.
“It’s been a great start to the year,” he said. “My agent [Matt Muzikar] does such a great job. I can’t thank him enough and all the people who put all the hard work into their horses. All the credit goes to them.”