Al Shaqab Racing's Mshawish, bottled up behind horses through the stretch, finally found running room nearing the wire and surged forward to a narrow victory in the Grade 1, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Slumber was second, and Manchurian High finished third. Final time for the mile and an eighth on turf was 1:47.22.
Winless in his first three efforts in the United States, Mshawish has made up for that fact by winning three straight stakes, all of them on the Gulfstream Park Turf. Todd Pletcher trains the globetrotting 5-year-old horse, who has also made starts in Dubai, Hong Kong, France, and Great Britain.
“He needs to be covered up and we were able to do that,” Pletcher said. “When you have to cover one up in turf races, you have to roll the dice that you get a seam at some point. He was lucky to find one when he did, and he finished like a good horse. It was a very determined effort. He's a really nice horse.”
Jockey Javier Castellano has teamed up with Mshawish for each of his stateside victories.
“It was a tough trip all the way in the race,” Castellano said. “It was very tight from the beginning all the way to the end. I never had a place to go. I had to stay patient and go from there. At some point in the race I got a little bit frustrated turning for home because I never saw any hole. Finally by the eighth pole when I saw the hole he went through a tiny hole and he made a big effort today.
“I give all the credit to the horse because they way he did it today, it was amazing. Not too many horses can do it the way he did it today.”
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