Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm's X Y Jet romped to a 7 3/4-length victory in Wednesday's featured ninth race at Gulfstream Park, punching his ticket to Dubai for a third run in the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen (Grade 1) March 30.
Sent to post as the 2-5 favorite in a field of six in the stakes-caliber six-furlong optional claiming allowance, X Y Jet and jockey Emisael Jaramillo enjoyed a carefree trip while registering an uncontested front-running victory.
Trainer Jorge Navarro, however, had some uneasy moments leading up to Wednesday's pivotal race.
“I'm a little emotional. We were going to scratch him. He tied up on us Sunday for the first time,” Navarro said. “Thank God, we have an amazing team.”
The 7-year-old gelding rebounded from the cramping condition while running six-furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:09.98, built on fractions of 22.40, 45.45 and 57.63 seconds. Santiamen finished second, three lengths ahead of Reason to Soar. Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Noble Indy finished fourth.
Navarro said a return trip to Dubai hinges on how X Y Jet exits Wednesday's race.
“He looked good hitting the ground. Jaramillo felt everything perfect,” said Navarro, referring to physical issues that have interrupted his career on several occasions.
X Y Jet has won 11 of 24 starts and more than $1.5 million in purses.
The popular 7-year-old gelding finished second twice in the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a neck behind Muarrab in 2016 and a head behind Mind Your Biscuits last year.
X Y Jet returned from Dubai last year to capture the G3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream on June 30 before heading to the sidelines for 6 1/2 months. The son of Kantharos was upset in his Jan. 19 return in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, in which he came up uncharacteristically short to finish fourth after breaking from the rail post position and being subjected to heavy pace pressure.
Who's Hot: Irad Ortiz Jr. rode four winners in a row on Wednesday, scoring aboard King Leo ($8) in Race 5, Star Juancho ($14.60) in Race 6, Unbridled Holiday ($12) in Race 7, and Skywire ($8.40) in Race 8.
Ortiz closed to within nine wins of idle Luis Saez, the two-time defending Championship Meet titlist who has a meet-leading 84 victories.
Thursday's Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $58,824
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Thursday's program at Gulfstream Park grew to $58,824.10 Wednesday, when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the second racing day in a row since a mandatory payout yielded multiple payoffs of $100,919.88 last Saturday.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $429.84 Wednesday.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day's pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
There will be a $2,437.23 Super Hi-5 carryover heading into Thursday's card.
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