Phipps Stable's Breaking the Rules ran to his 4-5 odds Saturday, driving away from 13 opponents down the stretch to win the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby by 3 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Breaking the Rules covered a firm 1 1/16 mile turf course in 1:141.33. The 16-1 longshot Sniper Kitten was second and Therapist was third.
“His progression has been really good. Being by War Front, I was always anxious to get him on the grass,” McGaughey said. “He ran on turf at Saratoga, a horse got loose and he came eight wide. He ran good. Then he came back and won an allowance race the way he ran today. Irad rode him well and had him where he needed to be. He exploded today and ran away from them.”
Breaking cleanly from the No. 4 post, Ortiz rated Breaking the Rules fifth around the first turn and down the backstretch while Ceevee took the field past fractions of :24.85, :48.86 and 1:12.47. But Ortiz moved Breaking the Rules three-wide entering the stretch, blew by Ceevee, and left everyone else in his wake.
Breaking the Rules made his first five starts on dirt before being put on the turf at Saratoga Sept. 1, where he was beaten three lengths. He returned at Belmont Oct. 6 and won by 2 ¾ lengths.
“He's a nice horse. He broke good and put me in a good position. I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz Jr., who won four races on the afternoon. “The first time I rode him on the grass was in Saratoga and we had a loose horse in front of us, which probably cost us the race, getting beat by three lengths. I told Shug to give him another chance and at Belmont he won very easy and today he came back and did it again.”
Godolphin LLC's Too Charming broke on top and never looked back, holding off her stablemate Adina Del Sur inside the final yards to win Saturday's $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks by a head.
A 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini trained by Tom Albertrani and coming off an allowance victory at Aqueduct Nov. 11, Too Charming covered a firm 1 1/16 mile turf course in 1:41.21 under jockey Paco Lopez. Don Alberto Stable's Andina Del Sur, also trained by Albertrani, was a length better than Semper Sententia in third.
“I really liked her last race and I thought she was coming around and really felt good going into this race today knowing [Adina Del Sur] was also a horse to beat,” Albertrani said.
Lopez took Too Charming to the lead leaving the 10 post and set fractions of :23.58, :47.48 and 1:10.94 before holding off her stablemate at the wire.
“I thought Adina Del Sur was going to get up – a dead-heat would have been a little sweeter – but they both ran great,” Albertrani said.
“Tom said I'll probably sit second or third with the speed in the race, just use your judgment after the break,” Lopez said. “After the first turn I held her a little bit and once I put my hands down, we weren't going too fast, but she relaxed. She's a very good filly, she ran great today.”
Too Charming has now won three of nine starts and has placed first, second or third in five of her eight starts on the turf. Her only poor races were run over a yielding course in Saratoga and when she was used hard last winter at Gulfstream.
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