Sky Blazer Rallies For Victory, Rainbow 6 Nears $2 Million
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The $200,000 Swale (G2) and $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) were Saturday’s only two graded stakes at Gulfstream, but the eighth race, a $54,500 allowance optional claimer on the grass, had the makings to be a third.
Among the 11 starters were four graded stakes winners, including 2013 Virginia Derby (G2) winner War Dancer, Fred Hooper Stakes (G3) Csaba, Tropical Turf Handicap (G3) winnerPhilly Ace and Fayette Stakes (G2) winner Newsdad, who was coming back from a yearlong layoff.
But it was Sky Blazer who came seemingly from out of the clouds to win the competitive contest, charging down the stretch to hit the wire a length in front of the graded stakes-placed Hangover Kid and Kalamos. The 6-year-old gelding by Sky Mesa out of Highland Hope overcame the far outside post and a slow break to get the victory. He covered the 1 1/16th miles in 1:39.43 and paid $18.40 to win.
“You always worry about being way on the outside like that, and Mrs. Young (Sky Blazer’s owner) hasn’t had a good post since we’ve been here,” trainer Barclay Tagg said. “Every horse has been 9 or further out. But he was full of run today. It surprised us all the way he exploded at the head of the lane, but it was a happy surprise.”
Sky Blazer drew the 16th post and was an also eligible after the race was drawn Wednesday. With only 14 horses allowed to start, Tagg did not expect his horse to make it into the race. But he was rewarded when Money Talker, Hamp, Old Time Hockey, Tune Me In, and recent Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) winner Lochte were all late defections.
“You have to be pretty lucky to have two horses scratch, and we ended up with four or five horses scratching, so it helped out a lot,” Tagg said.
Young was also on hand for Sky Blazer’s win, and the longtime racing enthusiast was visibly emotional post race. She got choked up when she talked about her horse’s long road to recovery from an injury he sustained in training last year.
“He got rear-ended by a loose horse up at Palm Meadows,” she recalled. “Robin (Smullen, Tagg’s assistant trainer) fell off backwards and had whiplash. The horse, his tail was broken, and some of his vertebrae were compressed. He had ice blankets on him, he had acupuncture, he had a chiropractor. We did everything we could, and it’s taken a year for the movement in his tail to come back, but he’s just doing beautifully right now. I’m really happy.”
Young also has a soft spot for Sky Blazer, because he is a homebred and a member of a team that she likens to family.
“It means a lot, because I owned his grandmother (Highland Mills), and I bred him, and it means a lot for Barclay,” Young said. “He’s been my trainer for almost 29 years. He is my favorite – my favorite trainer. He’s like a brother to me.”
Rainbow Six Carryover Nears $2 Million
On Saturday $729,838 was bet into the Rainbow Six pool, and after no single ticket was left with the winners of each of the day’s final six races, the Rainbow Six carryover grew to $1,974,813. That sum will carry over into Sunday’s 11-race card. The 10-cent Rainbow Six has not been fully paid out since January 10th. Those with six winners Saturday were paid $81,697.28
Who’s Hot: Trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher and jockey Joel Rosario each had two wins on the day’s card. Rosario earned his wins with two first time starters - Silvery Starlet in the first and Peter Island, who outclassed a field that included $1.65 million yearling purchase Heyaarat, in the seventh.
Pletcher won the third race with the Triple Crown nominated Anchor Down as well as the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) with Gala Award. Zito won the fifth race with Nevada Kid in addition to the Swale (G2) with Spot. The Swale was Zito’s first graded stakes win since April of last year.
GULFSTREAM PARK is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at [email protected] or call 954.457.6451.