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Gulfstream Today 12.27.2012
The Lead: Cigar Street, owned by Miami Heat forward Rashard Lewis and Jake Ballis, returned from a nine-month layoff to win Gulfstream's featured ninth race Thursday, a $54,500 optional claimer.
Despite going four-wide around the first turn, Cigar Street, a 3-year-old son of Street Sense trained by Bill Mott, took the lead under jockey John Velazquez at the quarter pole to win by two lengths over Richard Pell's Fast Falcon.
Cigar Street, fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) last time out when trained by Steve Margolis, covered the 1 1/16th miles in 1:44.33. The colt was forced to the sidelines after the Louisiana Derby due to a hairline fracture.
"We were pointing toward the Peter Pan when he got hurt," Ballis said. "We gave him a bunch of time off. Bill Recio had him in Ocala and did a really wonderful job. Bill (Mott) is real good with older horses and trained Cigar, so we thought it would be a good fit. It worked today."
Lewis and Ballis are childhood friends who bought their first Thoroughbreds in 2008. Ballis does have a history in racing. His father, John, campaigned the top sprinter Groovy.
Lewis wasn't at Gulfstream Thursday because he was in Detroit preparing for Friday's game against the Pistons.
"It's too bad he wasn't here today," Ballis said of Lewis. "But he was in his hotel in Detroit watching on his computer. I have three messages from him now."
Ballis said he'd let Mott decide where Cigar Street races next.
Who's Hot: Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey continue as leading owners at the meet, winning with Win for Kitten in the seventh and Deanaaallen'skitten in the eighth. Jockey Jose Lezcano had a riding double, winning the first with Nevada Kid and the eighth with Deanaallen'skitten.
Bocachica Takes Off: Jockey Orlando Bocachica took off his mount in the eighth race Thursday when his mount in the fifth race, Imperial Bluegrass, brushed him and knocked him to the ground in the walking ring. Imperial Bluegrass was scratched. Bocachica took off as a precaution after having pain in his elbow.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $14,491.30.