HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – It took six trips postward for jockey John Velazquez to get his first win at the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park, but the champion was able to celebrate after Got Lucky ($2.80) cruised to victory in the eighth race on Wednesday’s card. Velazquez was injured in a serious spill at Santa Anita during the Breeders’ Cup and underwent surgery to remove his spleen.
“That was awesome,” Velazquez said. “It felt great. She’s a nice horse. She’s been in a stakes race already, so they really liked her from the beginning. She showed up out there today. When you get to ride horses like that, it makes it a lot easier for you.”
Got Lucky broke a bit slowly, but made her way forward and had the lead by the time they hit the quarter pole. The dark bay splashed home an easy winner, finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of Color Me Flying. She covered the mile in 1:38.39.
Got Lucky, bred and raced by the partnership of Hill ‘N’ Dale Equine Holdings and Philip J. Steinberg, finished second to the highly regarded Penwith in a Belmont maiden on October 27. Trainer Todd Pletcher opted to send the daughter of A.P. Indy into the $400,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) on November 30 and pulled off the exacta, as Got Lucky ran second by just a neck to stablemate Stopchargingmaria.
“We were pleased with her first start and had always been pretty high on the way she trains,” Pletcher offered. “A mile and an eighth seems like a natural for her pedigree, so we took a shot in (the Demoiselle) and she ran big.
“You’re always worried about the first time on an off track, but her pedigree suggested she would handle it, and she did,” Pletcher added. “I just wanted to bring her back in an easier spot than that and, hopefully, we can build on this one.”
Got Lucky is the third foal from the winning Deputy Minister mare Malka. Malka is a sibling to graded stakes winners Accelerator, Daydreaming and Girolamo, all of whom were sired by A.P. Indy. Another half-sister by that stallion, Supercharger, produced 2010 Kentucky Derby hero Super Saver.
The aforementioned Penwith prevailed in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream on January 2. She and Got Lucky could face off again in the $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) on February 22.
Centrique Runs Unbeaten Streak to Three
Centrique ran her perfect Gulfstream record to three with her sharp effort in Wednesday’s fourth race, a $50,000 allowance going a flat mile. Having broken her maiden for a $25,000 tag at Gulfstream in 2012, the bay mare made a victorious return to Hallandale Beach for the $100,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper on December 7.
Sent off as the slight 9-5 favorite over Ana Luisa, Centrique swerved out when the gates opened, but was quickly gathered by leading jockey Javier Castellano and went up to vie for the lead with longshot Triple Arch. The crowd’s choice asserted herself turning for home and built a 2 ¼-length advantage over Triple Arch at the finish line. The final time was 1:36.04. Gamay Noir, who shares trainer Marty Wolfson’s barn with the winner, finished third. Ana Luisa wound up fifth.
“I was a little concerned about the track, but I thought she ran well,” Wolfson said. “She’d been training really well since (the Claiming Crown).”
Centrique, a 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon owned by Miller Racing, has won 10 of 30 career starts and bankrolled $353,180 to date. She may head out of town for her next appearance in the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) at Laurel Park on February 15.
“I’m thinking about the Barbara Fritchie in Maryland for her right now,” Wolfson said.
WHO’S HOT: Jockey Javier Castellano continued his stranglehold on the Gulfstream leaderboard by booting home a trio of favored winners on Wednesday’s card. His skein started with heavily chalk Sonja’s Angel ($2.60) in the second, continued with Centrique ($5.60) in the fourth, and wrapped up with a 12-length tally aboard Great Rising Star ($3.80) in the seventh. Trainer Peter Walder recorded two winners over the wet track, saddling both Sonja’s Angel and Great Rising Star.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $238,368.46