HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – First introduced to the Gulfstream Park turf course last month, Antonia Autumn has clearly enjoyed her first winter in South Florida.
A 5-year-old half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and Eclipse Award champion Gio Ponti, Antonia Autumn won her second straight start at the Champions meet, taking Friday’s featured ninth race allowance.
Under jockey Julien Leparoux, Antonia Autumn ran 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:47.76, beating Stick to Your Guns by three-quarters of a length. Favored at 2-1 in the field of eight, she returned $6 to win.
“I don’t really know the history of the filly before I rode her, but from what I heard she had a little problem where she was kind of tough,” Leparoux said. “The last two times I rode her, she was very relaxed both times. Hopefully, she learns as she matures and she can step up her game even again.”
Leparoux was aboard when Antonia Autumn opened her 2014 campaign with a rallying half-length victory in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream on Jan. 12 – her first start since finishing second in an off-the-turf allowance at Monmouth Park eight months earlier.
She improved her record to three wins, two seconds and two thirds from eight lifetime starts, sitting off a pace of 25.03 seconds for a quarter-mile, 49.33 for the half and 1:12.53 after six furlongs set by long shot Eastern Atlantic. Antonia Autumn took command in midstretch and held off late-running Stick to Your Guns.
“I had a good trip,” Leparoux said. “She broke good. There was not as much speed as her last race so Christophe told me to put her a bit more in the race, and she ran beautiful for me. On the backside, I tried to find my way where I could be in the clear already and she took me there very nicely. She kind of got to looking around at the end, but she did it easy.”
Rainbow 6 Jackpot Continues to Grow
There was no unique winning ticket in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 on Friday, causing the jackpot to grow to $1,220,451.42 heading into Saturday’s 12-race card. Post time is 12:40 p.m.
A total of $338,074 was bet into the pool for the 20-cent Rainbow 6, the popular multi-race wager which requires a bettor to hold the only ticket with the winner of the days’ final six races to collect the jackpot.
Sixteen bettors correctly put together the winning 9-6-1-3-2-3 sequence, which was worth $15,627.62. The jackpot has gone unhit for 31 consecutive racing days, since it was cashed for $340,670.26 on Jan. 10. Saturday’s card features the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds, $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, and the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) for older turf milers.
Who’s Hot: Jockey Luis Contreras, who had four wins in his first 77 mounts at the meet, captured back-to-back races with Ray of Light ($16.40) in the fourth and Kingdom’s Crown ($9.60) in the fifth. Also picking up two winners were Luis Saez in the first with Megalith ($8) and seventh with Six Queens ($4), and Paco Lopez with Contrail ($13.60) in the sixth and Steve ($9.80) in the eighth.
Rainbow 6 carryover: $1,220,451.42