Ageless Therapist Makes the Grade in $200,000 Pan American (G2)
New York-Bred 8-Year-Old Veteran Delivers Again for Maker, Dubb
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Two starts after being claimed by trainer Mike Maker for $50,000 on behalf of owner Michael Dubb, 8-year-old Therapist secured the first graded-stakes victory of his long career Saturday in the $200,000 Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 62nd running of the 1 ½-mile Pan American for 4-year-olds and up on grass was the second of 10 stakes, five graded, worth $2.35 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program anchored by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa for 3-year-olds.
Even-money favorite Master Piece had the lead in the stretch and appeared poised to win, but he was caught and passed inside the sixteenth pole by Therapist on the inside and Bay Street Money on the outside. Therapist, a New York-bred son of Freud, prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 2:29.22 and paid $11.00. Master Piece finished third, a length behind Maker-trained Bay Street Money. Maker also finished fourth with Wicked Fast.
Primarily racing in New York, Therapist entered the Pan American with 11 victories in 38 starts, but was winless in five graded-stakes races. Following a victory in a starter allowance on Gulfstream’s Tapeta track on Feb. 11, Maker prepared the gelding for his first try at 1 ½ miles. Therapist and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. sat behind early fractions of 23.35 seconds, 48.53 and the mile in 1:38.78 and then made a run toward the lead.
$200,000 Pan American (G2) Quotes
Nolan Ramsey, assistant to winning trainer Mike Maker (Therapist): “He’s an old, class horse. He does everything right. He’s easy to train. This was his first start at this distance, but his pedigree says he’ll run long, so we tried him here and it worked out.”
Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Therapist): “No worries despite the slow start, because that's just what he does. I let him find his stride until the five-eighths pole, and I was hoping to find space on the outside. The two horses in front went wide, so I found the space I was looking for in the 2-3 path, and he responded well. He always does, because his trainer [Mike Maker] is one of the best at these marathon distances.”
Winning owner Michael Dubb (Therapist): “This particular 8-year-old is a New York-bred, and I race in New York all summer long. My thought was, I knew he was well taken care of because the previous trainer who is also a trainer of mine is a great caregiver. They decided to move the horse along, and they sold him for a pretty good price. He wound up in a claiming race and I said, ‘I think we can win some New York-bred races.’ I was never dreaming we would do this. We have conversations about pedigree, and this horse knows his way to the winner’s circle; it's his 12th time. The pedigree really screamed long and we said, ‘Let’s give it a try and see what happens.’ Then you have Irad Ortiz as your pilot, and it all comes together.”