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Jay’s Way Fights Back to win $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic

Jan 20, 2018
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Pacesetter Jay’s Way fought back after being headed by heavily favored Mr. Jordan in the stretch to capture Saturday’s $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic under jockey Emisael Jaramillo at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Classic kicked off Saturday’s Sunshine Millions stakes action for Florida-bred horses on Saturday’s 12-race program that also offered the $150,000 Turf, the $150,000 Filly and Mare Turf and the $100,000 Sprint.

Jay’s Way ($10), who fought back to defeat graded-stakes winner J Boy’s Echo in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream in his previous start, employed the same tactics in the Classic to come away with a half-length victory over graded-stakes winner Mr. Jordan, the even-money favorite in a field of six.

“The last time he ran, I told Jaramillo try to go to the front because that’s the way he likes it. He ran very good. This time, the same thing. Jaramillo said, ‘I guess I’ve got to go in front.’ I said, ‘Yeah, try to push him and go in front,” trainer Armando De La Cerda said. “Everything worked out. Jaramillo rode him perfect.

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ 5-year-old son of Gone Astray showed the way into the far turn after setting fractions of 23.43 (seconds), 47.50 and 1:11.30. Mr. Jordan, who rated a few lengths off the pace under Edgard Zayas along the backstretch, moved to the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch on his own, seemingly on his way to a commanding victory. However, the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained 6-year-old began to drift out in mid-stretch and shortened stride inside the final 16th of a mile as Jay’s Way rallied along the rail to prevail.

“I wanted to be in front from the very beginning, those were the instructions. He always likes to fight for the lead, so that was the intention. I knew if I put him on the lead, he would fight,” Jaramillo said. “When he sees another horse around him, he fights back because he wants to be in front.”

Jay’s Way ran 1 1/8 miles on a firm turf course in 1:50.12 to record his first stakes victory and sixth overall triumph in 20 career starts.

Mr. Jordan, a multiple-stakes winner who has earned more than $650,000 in purses for owners David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, finished six lengths clear of third-place finisher Catholic Cowboy. The Plesa trainee, who led in the stretch before finishing second behind Fear the Cowboy in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Dec. 16 at Gulfstream, is winless in five starts at 1 1/8-miles while finishing second three times and third once.

Jay’s Way was making his fourth start for De La Cerda since being transferred from trainer Danny Gargan’s stable in New York.

“I think we’ll stay in Florida. There’s good money right here in Florida,” De La Cerda said.

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