Though Rose Brier crossed the wire in front during Saturday's G3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park West, the stewards disqualified him for interference in deep stretch, moving Aliyu Ben J Stables' homebred Lubash into the winner's circle for trainer Christophe Clement. The 9-year-old son of Freud was winning his first graded stake in two years, ridden by Joe Bravo for his 18th career win.
“I really don't like to win a race that way because I don't like that,” said Clement. “Nevertheless, I'm thrilled for the horse. He's a wonderful horse. He's nine years old. He overcame me for many years, which is great. I don't like to win a race that way, but we'll take it.”
Applicator jumped out of the starting gates on top, holding a one-length advantage over Rose Brier through early fractions of :23.68 and :48.46. Lubash, meanwhile, traveled near the rear of the field in seventh. Midway through the far turn, Rose Brier began encroaching on Applicator's lead to take command at the head of the lane, but Lubash was moving well to advance into fifth position.
Rose Brier turned for home in front, but Lubash was unleashing a big rally down the center of the racetrack. Jockey Trevor McCarthy hit Rose Brier once left-handed and the horse darted to the right, immediately in the path of the oncoming Lubash. Bravo had to check sharply aboard Lubash, losing all of his momentum late in the race. A stewards' inquiry moved Rose Brier from first to second behind Lubash. Coalport finished third.
“What a pretty classy old horse,” said Bravo. “You've got to love this guy. It's a shame, I don't know if Trevor's horse spooked from the inside or what, but he came out a long way and we were impeded. I'm glad everything worked out OK today. Lubash is a classy old warrior. He's a New York-bred but he wins anywhere.”
Bred in New York by his owner, Lubash has won a number of stakes races in his career. The Tropical Turf is his first graded win since November of 2014, and improves the 9-year-old's overall record to 18-9-5 from 50 starts, with earnings of just under $1.5 million.
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