Ricardo Vallejo's Deland, a Grade 1 winner in Puerto Rico, broke through with his first stakes victory in the U.S. Sunday in the $75,000 Coast Is Clear at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, the 6-year-old gelding ran a one-turn mile in 1:35.86 to win for the first time in his five starts since leaving Puerto Rico. The Florida-bred son of Gottcha Gold, who won 10 of 16 starts in Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. last fall to compete in the Dec. 9 Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream Park.
“This horse came here for the Caribbean Classic but when he got to Miami he had a hoof injury and couldn't run,” trainer Victor Barboza Jr. said.
Deland ($10.80) settled off the pace set by Conquest Big E, the 6-5 favorite who set fractions of 23 (seconds), 44.97 and 1:09.11 before relinquishing the lead to Zipping leaving the turn into the homestretch. Zipping, who had pressed the pace into the stretch, repelled a bid by multiple-stakes winner Mr. Jordan and maintained a lead into mid-stretch under Tyler Gaffalione, only to be overtaken by Deland.
Deland was transferred to Barboza's Gulfstream Park stable before finishing a close second in a June 29 optional claiming allowance race after setting the pace.
“There was a lot of speed — 44 (seconds for the half-mile). It helped my horse,” Barboza said. “The last time, he set the pace and finished second but ran a good race. Today, he was very, very good.”
Zipping held gamely to finish second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of a late-charging Hy Riverside, who had beaten Deland last time out. Conquest Big E., who won the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) March 31, tired badly to finish out of the money.
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