Shadwell Stable's homebred Almanaar burst clear in the late stages to take Saturday's Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap by about a length, giving the 5-year-old son of Dubawi his first graded stakes win in the United States. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario, Almanaar covered nine furlongs over the firm turf in 1:45.63.
“He ran great the last race,” said Brown. “The other horse [Flatlined] beat him fair and square, he followed him the whole race. Joe Bravo, riding the Flatlined horse, got up at wire and beat him. I think this horse today had a little more room to work at an mile and an eighth. He got a beautiful set up. Joel fits the horse perfectly; it's the second time in a row he has given him a flawless trip on this turf course. I'm proud of the way the horse drove him down the center of the track.”
Almanaar was never far behind the leaders, traveling in sixth as Beach Patrol set solid fractions on the front end. Beach Patrol was pressured by Eirigh, who missed the break but rushed up to join the leader, through fractions of :23.59 and :47.08, while War Correspondent, Lukes Alley and Divisidero tracked from the second flight of horses.
Rounding the turn for home, Divisidero rallied three-wide but was unable to mount his usual challenge. War Correspondent took over at the head of the lane, but Beach Patrol rallied back to regain his lead while getting out badly, bumping War Correspondent. Meanwhile, Almanaar was finally allowed clear running in the center of the racetrack, and kept grinding until he found the lead nearing the wire. Almanaar won by about a length, with Beach Patrol finishing second.
A stewards' inquiry and jockey's objection disqualified Beach Patrol from second, placing him fourth, for interference with War Correspondent in the middle of the stretch. The official order of finish was Almanaar, All Included, War Correspondent, and Beach Patrol.
“He broke really well,” Rosario said. “I wanted to follow somebody but I got shut off a little bit on the first turn. But I took it step by step, trying to take my time with him so I could let him finish in the end. He did well. Turning for home I was a little outside but he was very happy, really enjoying where he was and giving everything to me.”
Bread in Great Britain, Almanaar was a multiple Group 3 winner in France prior to his transfer to the United States late in 2016. He has improved with each start, finally getting the win in this Grade 1 event. Overall, Almanaar boasts a record of five wins from 14 starts, with earnings of over $400,000.
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