Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. swept the first two graded stakes on Gulfstream's Saturday card, taking the G3 Forward Gal with 1-2 favorite Feedback and coming right back to win the G3 Swale Stakes with 3-2 top choice Call Paul. Owned by Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables and Bruce Irum, the 3-year-old son of Friesan Fire covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:23.43. Call Paul's victory was his fourth lifetime win in six starts for trainer Jason Servis.
Country Singer sprinted to the lead from outward Post 11 and was in front through a brisk quarter-mile in 21.76 seconds and a half in 44.27 pressed to his outside by High Crime, both horses making their stakes debut. Zenden, unbeaten in his two career starts including a victory in the Buffalo Man Stakes Dec. 8, tracked along in third.
Despite breaking a step slow from Post 5 as the 3-2 favorite, Jason Servis-trained Call Paul ($5) was able to settle in mid-pack under Ortiz, sweep to the lead on the far outside around the turn and power past Zenden through the stretch to win in 1:23.43 over a fast main track.
“I didn't panic when he broke a step slow. I have a lot of confidence riding [trainer Jason Servis'] horses,” Ortiz said. “I just helped him a little bit to get position. From there I just waited for the moment to go, and when I asked him, he responded really well.”
Zenden was a clear second, two lengths ahead of Topper T. It was another neck back to High Crime in fourth.
Call Paul opened his career last summer with back-to-back wins including the Sanford (G2) at Saratoga. From there, he ran third in the Champagne (G1) and Nashua (G3), both at a mile, before capping his juvenile campaign with a five-length romp in the seven-furlong Pennsylvania Nursery for state-breds.
“He's done really good up to a mile. I don't know what the owner and trainer want to do, but he's nice horse at seven-eighths, a flat mile,” he added. “Whatever they want to do, I'm going to be happy.”
Bred in Pennsylvania by Beatrice Patterson and Vicky Schowe, Call Paul was a $20,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall sale. He returned to the sales ring as a 2-year-old to command $210,000, and his four-for-six record has the colt's current earnings at over $360,000.
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