Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing LLC's Pay Any Price, the ageless gelding who set a world record for five furlongs on turf at Gulfstream Park two years ago, will still be the horse to beat when he returns to action on his home turf in Monday's $75,000 Crystal River Stakes.
“Just because he's getting older doesn't mean he's getting less fast,” trainer Georgina Baxter said.
The Crystal River, the featured event on an 11-race Memorial Day program, will serve as a prep for the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the June 29 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream. Pay Any Price won both the Crystal River and Umphrey last year.
First race post is 1:15 p.m.
Pay Any Price, who set the standard for speed on turf when he won the 2017 Silks Run in 53.61 seconds, can still run with the big boys, as he demonstrated in defeat in his most recent start in this year's edition of the Silks Run March 9. Pressed by 2018 Silks Run winner Vision Perfect while setting the pace along the inside, Pay Any Price set fractions of 20.68 and 42.92 seconds for the first half mile. The 9-year-old gelding fought on through the stretch, checking in third, 3 ¼ lengths behind victorious Imprimis, who went on to win the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland in his next start, and only a neck in back of Vision Perfect.
The son of Wildcat Heir, who has won 13 of 19 starts over the Gulfstream turf, has been given a short break to gear up for a spring/summer campaign.
“He likes it better in the summer. He likes a firm surface and he likes it when it's warm,” said Baxter, who named Emisael Jaramillo to ride Pay Any Price.
Jaroslaw Kowalczyk's Singandcryindubai, who finished fourth in the Silks Run after bumping at the start, will seek to rebound Monday after jumping the inside rail and unseating his jockey in his most recent start. Edgard Zayas has the mount aboard the Jorge Navarro-trained 5-year-old gelding.
Diamond 100 Racing Club LLC, Amy Dunne, and Patrick Biancone's Diamond Oops is set to return from a 10-month layoff and make his turf debut in the Crystal River. The Biancone-trained 4-year-old gelding has won three of five starts on dirt, including victories in the Kiss a Native and Buffalo Man stakes at Gulfstream in 2017. Jairo Rendon is slated to ride the son of Lookin At Lucky for the first time Monday.
Guillermo Berrios' Discreet Angel, who has been first or second in 28 or 35 starts in Puerto Rico; NME 55 LLC's Mr. French, the winner of five of his last six starts against lesser company; and Maurice Miller LLC's Shoshone Brave, who won an off-the-turf $35,000 claiming race last time out; round out the field.
Monday's undercard feature, the $60,000 Home of the Brave, Patricia Generazio's Salute the Colonel is slated for some class relief in the 1 ½-mile turf starter stakes. The 5-year-old homebred gelding, who has won four of 19 starts over the Gulfstream Park turf course, last ran in the Pan American (G2), in which he was forwardly placed before tiring.
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