Heart to Heart All Heart in Gulfstream Park Turf
Feb 10, 2018
Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Earns First Grade 1 Victory
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Heart to Heart’s most recent attempts to win a Grade 1 stakes had ended with heartbreaking losses, but the Brian Lynch-trained multiple graded-stakes winner was all heart Saturday, holding on to capture the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1).
“The elusive Grade 1!,” Lynch exclaimed. “Watching him come back in and blowing as hard as he blew after that race, he gave it his all to win the race. He’s an absolute deserved horse to have a ‘1’ next to his name. It’s nice to get it done here, because he’s always loved this track.”
The 7-year-old son of English Channel, who came up short by less than a length after leading in the late stages of his three Grade 1 starts in 2017, showed the way into the stretch again Saturday but battled gamely to hold off a late-charging Kurilov by a neck under a perfectly executed ride by Julien Leparoux.
Heart to Heart, who reared at the start as the 3-5 favorite and finished seventh in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) last month at Gulfstream, broke alertly from his rail post position and grabbed an uncontested lead past tepid fractions of 24.15 (seconds) and 48.74 and 1:12.08 for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile race for older horses. The 5-2 favorite in a field of eight showed the way by more than a length after a mile in 1:35.49 but was all out to hold off Kurilov, who had saved ground while tracking the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr. Hi Happy raced evenly to finish third, three-quarters of a length back.
Heart to Heart ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.64 to win his fifth race in seven starts over the Gulfstream Park turf.
“He broke good and I got to the lead, and I was pretty comfortable the whole way. I’m glad the wire was coming, too, though because they were coming fast at the end,” Leparoux said. “The horse he tries, he tries hard, and he deserves that Grade 1 win and we finally got one. We’re all very happy about it.”
Lynch was happy when he saw Heart to Heart show his usual speed out of the starting gate after his disastrous start last time out.
“When they throw craps at you like that, it’s in the back of your mind that it could happen again and that maybe he’s not trying to go in the right direction,” Lynch said. “His works and everything indicated that [we should] put a pencil through that.”
Terry Hamilton’s enduring turf star upped his career bankroll to more than $1.7 million with his 11th career stakes victory and ninth graded-stakes success.
“Everybody loves Heart to Heart,” said Leparoux, who was accompanied in the winner’s circle by wife, Shea, son Mitchell and newborn son Vinn. “He’s a cool horse to be around in the morning and everything and he tries so hard. Here in the winter he’s been winning a lot of races for us, so the family loves him. When we saw him today my wife wanted to make sure that the kids were here, and we’re happy he got the job done.