HALLANDALE BEACH – Heading into Friday’s card at Gulfstream Park, trainer Shug McGaughey had saddled five winners from 17 starters, and those winners had all come on the grass. That streak continued when Reload, a 5-year-old making his first start on turf, led at every call in the day’s featured seventh race.
A Phipps Stable homebred, Reload aired in a Polytrack allowance at Keeneland last April, then notched a five-length success in an allowance washed off the Belmont turf in May. He was fourth in two subsequent stakes outings, and McGaughey opted to hit the reset button with the son of Hard Spun following another pair of unplaced efforts.
“I worked him on the turf at Payson Park last winter, but he didn’t really work that well,” the Hall of Fame conditioner explained. “We took him to Keeneland and he liked the Polytrack a lot, and then he kinda got off track. We brought him back to Payson—he gets sound there because his feet aren’t the best. We worked him a couple of times on the turf up there and he showed an affinity. We thought he would run well today; it was just a matter of whether he would run well enough.”
The powerfully made chestnut came away running and got away with dawdling fractions on the front end. Jockey Javier Castellano had his hands full after a half-mile split of :50.15, and Reload opened up when given his cue. He finished up strongly to score by three lengths and paid $11.40. Bombaguia was second throughout, while favored Kalamos rallied to claim third.
“I thought that maybe he would go right up, because he does like to lay up close like that,” McGaughey added. “He broke pretty sharp.”
It was the first of two winners on the card for meets leading rider Castellano, who also booted home 1-2 chalk Brandy’s Secret in the ninth race.
“He was going easy, easy, easy all the way,” Castellano confirmed. “His ears were back and forth the whole time and, when I asked him, he took off. He absolutely liked the turf.”
Reload is a half-brother to Grade 3 winners Philanthropist and Defer.
WHO’S HOT: Luis Saez piloted three winners on the card, sweeping the early double with Crazy Laura ($12.00) and F Five Movement ($6.40) before adding Party Starter ($34.40) in the sixth race.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $58,420.10
Pick 5 Carryover: $88,507.66
Super High 5 Carryover: $5,138.84