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Grand Bili Holds Off Barbados in Grade 3 Carry Back

Jul 5, 2015

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Despite pressing a torrid early pace, Groupo 7C Racing Stable’s Grand Bili held resolutely approaching the finish line to hold off favored Barbados by a length in Sunday’s $150,000 Carry Back Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The son of City Zip forced the pace set by Bluegrass Singer past quarter-mile fractions of 22 seconds and 43.76 along the backstretch and around the turn before taking the lead into the homestretch run of the six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. Although  the Gustavo Delgado-trained colt began to shorten stride in deep stretch, he responded to jockey Javier Castellano’s urging to prevail over the late-running Barbados, the 6-5 favorite in the 10-horse field.
“It was a fast pace, but that was what I expected. There were a lot of fast horses in the race and I knew Bluegrass Singer would want to set the pace. I just wanted to have us on target. It worked out perfect,” said Castellano, the defending two-time Eclipse Award champion jockey who has won four straight Championship Meet titles at Gulfstream. “That was a dream trip. I give all the credit to the trainer (Gustavo Delgado). He gave me a lot of tips about the horse and the way he runs. I think he's a nice horse."
Grand Bili, the 5-1 second betting choice, ran six furlongs in 1:22.11 while winning his first career stakes in his fifth lifetime start. The gray colt won his debut under Castellano at Gulfstream on Feb. 1. After finishing a close second in his second start, he was shipped to Pimlico for the Chick Lang Stakes on the Preakness Stakes undercard, only to never threaten after lunging at the start and getting away from the gate slowly. Grand Bili returned to Gulfstream to finish a close second in the Big Cypress Stakes on June 7 to prep for the Carry Back.
Groupo 7C Racing Stable’s Juan and Bina finished third, 4 ½ lengths behind Barbados, who rallied from several lengths off the early pace in his first start in more than five months in the Carry Back.
When last seen at Gulfstream, the son of Speightstown captured his third straight race with a triumph in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (G3) on Jan. 24, when he stamped himself as an exciting 3-year-old prospect. Unfortunately, Barbados was sent to the sidelines soon after by a knee chip in his left front leg that required arthroscopic surgery.

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