Well-Traveled Chi Chi Dominates Juvenile Filly Sprint
Squints Pulls Off 25-1 Upset Win in Juvenile Sprint
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Ernest Frohboese’s Chi Chi has logged a lot of frequent flyer miles for a 2-year-old filly, having traveled from South Florida to Southern California and back to South Florida with a stopover in Oklahoma.
The daughter of 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible hardly showed any signs of jetlag Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where she collected her second-straight stakes victory with a 2 ¾-length triumph in the $60,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint.
The Juvenile Filly Sprint, a 6 ½-furlong stakes for Florida-bred fillies, co-headlined Saturday’s program with the $60,000 Juvenile Sprint, a 6 ½-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-olds.
Herman Wilensky-trained Chi Chi turned in a pair of solid efforts in turf sprints to launch her career at Del Mar during the summer before breaking her maiden in the $50,000 E. L. Gaylord Memorial at Remington Park. Saturday, she notched back-to-back 6 ½-furlong stakes wins while defeating six state-bred rivals.
Edwin Gonzalez, who traveled to Oklahoma to guide Chi Chi to victory at Remington, settled the strapping filly behind a contested pace while saving ground. Turning for home, a hole opened between horses and Chi Chi kicked in take the lead and draw away. As impressively as Chi Chi performed Saturday, Sam Wilensky, the trainer’s assistant and son, said she was likely not at her best.
“It was actually a tough week for her. As you can see, she’s a monster, and she’s extremely tough to train. She’s very strong. It’s a little bit of a struggle. She’s run off a couple times this week,” the younger Wilensky said. “I don’t think she was at her best.”
Chi Chi, the 3-5 favorite ran 6 ½ furlong s in 1:18.44. Hepburn who made a sweeping three-wide move on the far turn, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Miss Sayley.
Later on Saturday’s program, Screen Door Stables LLC’s Squints pulled off a 25-1 upset victory in the Juvenile Sprint.
The Kelly Breen-trained son of Khozan was outrun early while saving ground behind a four-pronged challenge for the early lead along the backstretch and around the far turn. As the pace challengers came back to the field on the turn into the homestretch, jockey Hector Diaz Jr. cut the corner aboard Squints, who kicked in to prevail by 1 ¾ lengths over Sound of the Beast, who had launched a wide rally on the far turn.
“He doesn’t have a lot of speed but there was a lot of speed in the race,” Breen said. “For us to have a plan as a closer gave more options to Hector and it all worked out.”
Squints graduated in his debut under Diaz in a Sept. 16 seven-furlong maiden special weight event at Gulfstream before encountering a rough trip in an off-the-board finish in the Florida Sires Stakes Affirmed at seven furlongs Oct. 21.
“Right before they went into the gate, I was a little shocked that he was at those odds. He got bothered in a previous stakes race. I thought he might be 10-1,” Breen said.
Squints, who ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.56, earned $25,000 FTBOA Bonus offer to a Florida Sire Stakes-eligible winner, in addition to the winner’s share of the purse.
Sound of the Beast finished a length clear of Big Effect, who held on for third after being involved in the pacesetting skirmish. General Ledger, the 3-5 favorite, finished seventh after racing between horses while battling for pacesetting honors.