Gufo surges late in stretch to win Pan American (G2)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo saved his best punch for last, turning in a powerful finishing kick to chase down and overpower Abaan to win the $200,000 Pan American Stakes (G2).
Away from the races since early November when the 5-year-old was 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Gufo showed no signs of rust, settling toward the back of the pack in the 1 1/2-mile grass stakes before mounting a late charge to blow past Abaan and win in a hand ride under jockey Joel Rosario. Novo Sol was third.
Gufo, the Christophe Clement-trained son of Declaration of War was ahead of just one horse most of the way as Tide of the Sea led the before tiring in the final turn. Abaan took over at that point, opening up a two-length lead.
But Gufo went storming past in mid-stretch, giving him his first victory since last August when he won the Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga. Final margin of victory was two lengths.
The victory improved Gufo’s career mark to eight wins in 15 career races and he remained at unbeaten at Gulfstream, where he is now 4 or 4.
Winning trainer Christophe Clement (Gufo): “I thought it was very impressive. I’m delighted. He belongs to a gentleman, Mr. [Stephen] Cainelli who is a wonderful man, so I’m thrilled. This was his first race of the year. The idea is to go to the Man o’ War and we’ll go from there.”
“It was perfect. He wasn’t too far back. When he asked him to quicken on the outside, he was there for him. We were not thrilled with the blinkers in his last two races last year. Looking back at it, I probably should have [removed them] earlier, but that’s OK. We live and learn.”
Winning assistant trainer Miguel Clement (Gufo): “The whole stable is very fond of the horse. He’s been with us since the very beginning. Except for his last start, he’s always been incredibly consistent. He’s just a top-class horse. We have lots of big races mapped out for him already.”
Winning Jockey Joel Rosario (Gufo): “It was a good trip. He broke good. That’s the way he is – show some speed and then take his time. The pace was pretty good. I tried to save as much ground as I could and turning for home, he had a nice kick.”
“He seemed he was fine without the [blinkers]. He finished really well.”