Magic Cap Stable’s Twelve Volt Man made a late charge along the rail to register an upset victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Jewel at Gulfstream Park.
The Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or less, headlined nine starter stakes in the Claiming Crown, an annual event that celebrates the blue-collar horses that support the daily programs of racetracks throughout the country.
Twelve Volt Man ($23.60) gave trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. his third Claiming Crown victory of the day. Joseph also visited the winners circle with Face of Victory ($11) in the $75,000 Express in Race 5 and Sugar Fix ($8.40) in the $95,000 Tiara in Race 6.
“It’s an amazing day. You come into these races and you can have thirds and fourths and go home with no wins. After we got the first one, I was thankful. Then, the second one happened Then, we got a hard beat and got the third one,” Joseph said. “All the horses showed up.”
Joseph-trained Girolamo’s Attack, who was seeking his third straight stakes victory in the Jewel, was more highly regarded than Twelve Volt Man but wasn’t a factor.
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“Girolamo’s Attack got beat. He doesn’t like to be behind horses and dirt,” Joseph said.
Twelve Volt Man, who won his first two career starts before finishing far back in two subsequent stakes starts, was made eligible for the Jewel while winning an Oct. 14 optional claiming allowance while running for a $35,000 claiming tag. He tuned up for the Jewel with a fourth-place finish in the Showing Up over the Tapeta Course Nov. 6.
Twelve Volt Man raced between horses while tracking the pace along the backstretch a few lengths behind Hanalei’s Houdini, who was sent after early leader Mo Hawk on the far turn before moving to the lead while racing extremely wide entering the stretch under Paco Lopez. Edwin Gonzalez sent Twelve Volt Man inside Hanalei’s Houdini at the top of the stretch, and the two horses battled through the stretch while steadily drifting to the inside.
Twelve Volt Man won the battle nearing the wire to prevail by three-quarters of a length.
“I had a really good trip. I was saving ground around the first two turns. This is a really big horse. After the first time I rode the horse when he broke his maiden, I said to Saffie that this horse wants to go long,” Gonzalez said. “At the half-mile [pole], I followed the horse that finished second. At the quarter pole, when Paco moved, I moved with him. He drifted out with me and then I took my horse back inside and I think that won the race. When he got in a little bit tight, my horse got aggressive again. He’s a nice horse. I feel great.”
Twelve Volt Man, a 3-year-old gelded son of Violence, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.92 to edge Hanalei’s Houdini. Mo Hawk held on for third.
“The time was really good,” Joseph said. “Now, he’s going to have to face proper older horses.”
Sweet Willemina Rallies to Capture Glass Slipper
Richard Ciavardone and Home Team Stable’s Sweet Willemina ($18.60) emerged from a pack of horses in mid-stretch and rallied past Our Fantasy to capture Saturday’s $80,000 Glass Slipper at Gulfstream Park.
The Scott Lake-trained 4-year-old daughter of Reason d’Etat, who was coming off her first loss in seven starts since being claimed by her connections for $32,000, rebounded with last-jump decision over Our Fantasy in the mile starter stakes for fillies and mares that have run for a claiming price of $12,500 or less in 2020-2021.
Sweet Willemina, a Parx-based filly who broke her maiden for a $10,000 claiming price in September 2020, ran the mile in 1:36.68 under Silvestre Gonzalez to return to winning form after finishing second in an optional claiming allowance at Parx last time out.
“She’s a beast,” Lake said. “Her last race when she got beat – Silvestre and I talked about it and thought he rode her over-confidently and didn’t go after the lone speed,” Lake said. “We were a little worried coming in because she wasn’t quite as sharp coming off that race. But she’s been training great down here. Silvestre did a great job.”
Our Fantasy made a sweeping move to the lead coming off the stretch turn to open a clear early lead under Edgard Zayas but was unable to hold off Sweet Willemina by a head. Let’s Be Honest finished third a length back.
Sweet Willemina (7) surges late to score in the #ClaimingCrown Glass Slipper, Silvestre González at the reins for trainer Scott Lake and owners Richard Ciavardone and Home Team Stables. #GulfstreamPark #ChampionshipMeet pic.twitter.com/iVn8hcBBXK
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Miles Ahead Flaunts Class in Rapid Transit
David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa’s Miles Ahead, a graded-stakes winner in a race for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or less in 2020-2021, flaunted his class Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained 4-year-old gelding, who captured the Smile Sprint (G3) on the July 3 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream, closely stalked the pace set by Legal Deal before moving to the lead at the top of the stretch and prevailing by a comfortable 1 ½ lengths in the $85,000 Rapid Transit.
The seven-furlong Rapid Transit was one of nine starter stakes in the Saturday’s Claiming Crown, an annual event that celebrates the blue-collar horses that support daily racing programs at racetracks throughout the country.
Miles Ahead ($4.60) broke his maiden for a $12,500 claiming price by 12 ¼ lengths in January 2020 after being eased in his debut over turf. The son of Competitive Edge has steadily improved with age while establishing himself as one of the top sprinters on dirt in South Florida.
Miles Ahead ran seven furlongs in 1:21.99 to give jockey Paco Lopez his fourth victory of the day, including three Claiming Crown wins.
Legal Deal, ridden by Edwin Gonzalez, finish second, two lengths ahead of Pudding and jockey Leonel Reyes.
Miles Ahead is likely to return to open stakes company for his next start.
“There’s a $100,000 race in Maryland (Dec. 26 Dave’s Friend), and there’s a race here (G3 Harlan’s Holiday, Dec. 19) that’s coming up a little two quick,” Plesa said.
Zayas Guides Face of Victory to Express Score
Under a heads-up ride by Edgard Zayas, Mercy Man Racing’s Face of Victory ($11) captured Saturday’s $75,000 Express, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up that have run for a claiming price of $8000 or less in 2020-2021.
A split-second decision at the 3/8ths pole was the key to the Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained 5-year-old gelding’s upset victory over heavily favored Kalu, who broke sharply to take the early lead. Face of Victory, who broke from the rail post position and was ridden aggressively by Zayas, slipped inside the favorite on the backstretch. Gulfstream Park’s Fall Meet titlist quickly thought better of an inside challenge, easing up on his mount long enough to be able to guide him off the rail to make an outside challenge in the stretch. Face of Victory kicked on through the stretch to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths.
“Saffie gave me a lot of confidence in the paddock. He said, ‘Take it too [Kalu]. His only weakness is at the end where he tends to stop a little bit. He said, ‘Take it to him early if you can. Make him earn his money,’” Zayas said. “At the three-eighths pole, the other horse started to make his move early. At that point, I gave my horse a little breather and took him outside. He came running at the end.”
Face of Victory, who was claimed for $10,000 in August, ran six furlongs in 1:10.52 to upset Kalu, who held on to second by a head over third-place finisher Aequor.
Zayas and Joseph came right back to win the $95,000 Tiara in the following race with Sugar Fix.
Blue Steel Shows his Mettle in Iron Horse
James Woodruff’s Blue Steel showed his mettle while holding on to win Saturday’s $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Sterling Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile starter stakes for 3-year-olds and up that have run for a claiming price of $8000 or less in 2020-2021.
Trained by Jeff Hiles in Kentucky, Blue Steel ($9.40) had won his last four starts on dirt by a combined 22 ¼ lengths at Indiana Grand, Ellis Park and Belterra Park, held on to win by a half-length after leading most of the way under jockey Paco Lopez. The 5-year-old gelding ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.61 to prevail over Zanesville, who finished 2 ½ lengths clear of Brasstown.