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Varsity Leads All the Way in Turf Sprint
Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s 6-year-old Kentucky homebred Varsity broke sharply from the rail under jockey Joe Bravo in Saturday’s $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint and led throughout the five furlongs to score by 1 ¼ lengths over John Menary and Gail Cox’s Something Extra.
A gelded son of Indian Charlie, Varsity was winning for the sixth time in just 11 career starts with two seconds, following a similar wire-to-wire score over the course and distance on Dec. 13. Houyhnhnm Stable’s 6-year-old Great Attack was sent off the slight choice at 8-to-5 over Varsity and made a bold bid outside in the upper stretch before settling for third, another 1 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up in the field of six.
“He likes it here and he likes five-eighths on firm turf,” said winning trainer Christophe Clement of Varsity. “He’s always been a nice horse…just a little unlucky at times. This was a good field he beat today. There are opportunities ahead (turf sprints).”
"I think with an effort like that this horse deserves to run in Dubai,” said Bravo. “Too run that fast and keep going... he's a rocket." Varsity is nominated for the $1 million Al Quoz Turf Sprint at five furlongs on turf to be run at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Day, Mar. 30.
Gail Cox, co-owner and trainer of runner-up Something Extra, said, “The speed horse (Off the Jak) didn’t break well and Varsity took the lead. My horse got a little jammed on the rail, but he ran great. At five-eighths you really can’t check and expect to come back afterwards, but I was really happy with the race.”
Varsity paid $5.80 for $2 to win and was timed in 54:17 for the five furlongs on ‘firm’ turf.