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Reason to Soar’s Victory brings ‘Smile’ to Trainer’s Face

Jun 6, 2018
Favored Florida Fuego Ekes Out Win in $75,000 Liza Jane

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Reason to Soar rallied between horses to register a half-length victory in Wednesday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park, establishing himself as a serious candidate for the $250,000 Smile (G3) on the June 30 Summit of Speed program.

The 4-year-old son of Soaring Empire ($11.20) ran six furlongs in 1:10.02 to capture the second-level optional claiming allowance and win his third-straight race while running his perfect record at Gulfstream to 4-for-4.

“The horse has been training really well. We thought he’d run a big race, but he’s just a ‘2-other-than’ and most of the other horse in there have won a lot of other races than ‘2-other-than,’” said trainer George Weaver, who watched Reason to Soar’s win from his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “It looked like a tough race, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Rated behind the pace set by Harryhee, Reason to Soar saved ground under Tyler Gaffalione before cutting the corner and slipping outside the pacesetter in mid-stretch before outkicking Cautious Giant to the wire.

“I had a good trip. The horse broke well and put himself in a good position and sat behind the speed. I had to wait for a spot down the stretch. A seam opening and he shot right through,” Gaffalione said.

Reason to Soar debuted at Gulfstream Feb. 23, 2017 with a 6 ¼-length victory. Winless in four subsequent races, although twice stakes-placed, the Weaver trainee returned to his winning ways while coming off an eight-month layoff in a Florida-bred allowance at Gulfstream March 31. He came back to win an entry-level optional claiming allowance May 10.

Weaver, who maintains a string at Palm Beach Downs, said the seven-furlong Smile will be under consideration.

“He really likes the track. We stay there year-round, so the question becomes about shipping him up and shipping him back. I want to talk to the connections. and it will definitely be something we discuss,” Weaver said. “He’s unbeaten at Gulfstream, so we have to think about it.”

Cautious Giant, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, finished second, a half-length ahead of Harryhee. Three Rules, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Edgard Zayas, was never a factor.

Favored Florida Fuego Ekes Out Win in $75,000 Liza Jane
e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Florida Fuego surged late to triumph in Wednesday’s $75,000 Liza Jane Stakes at Gulfstream Park, punching her ticket for a start in the Azalea Stakes on the June 30 Summit of Speed program.

Sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in the 6 ½-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, Florida Fuego responded to urgent handling by jockey Tyler Gaffalione in deep stretch to make up three lengths inside the 16th-pole and defeat pacesetting Luzmimi Princess by a nose.
“That was cool,” trainer David Fawkes said. “I have to give Tyler credit. She comes off a mile race and she had to be encouraged the early part of the race. Tyler had to stay busy on her. He didn’t give up. I didn’t think she could win. I told (owner) Bob (Edwards), ‘Oh well, we’re going to be second, maybe third,’ and all of sudden we’re in the winner’s circle.”
The daughter of Kantharos ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:18.26 to score her second career stakes win. She captured the $100,000 Sophomore Fillies for Florida-breds at seven furlongs before finishing a troubled third at a mile and 40 yards in the $100,000 FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes in her two most recent starts at Tampa Bay Downs.
Luzmimi Princess, who set fractions of 22 .35 (seconds), 45.09, and 1.10.77 before coming up just short under Emisael Jaramillo, also established herself as a solid prospect for the Azalea. Writers Almanac finished third.

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