Fireworks blasted away at Gulfstream Park. Well, not your typical ones from the 4th of July. I’m talking about the ones you see when $100,000 purses plus $25,000 bonuses are on the line.
The Florida HBPA proudly sponsored the Martha Washington and Not Surprising stakes. And fans were treated to some exciting races.
Disqualification in the Martha Washington after a battle to the wire
In the Martha Washington, it looked like both the winner’s purse and majority Florida-bred bonus were going to be paid out. Jockey Luca Panici had Florida-bred Midnight Soiree on the lead deep in the stretch, but Miguel Angel Vasquez and heavily favored Camila Princess were not going down without a fight.
Both fillies battled neck and neck to the wire with Midnight Soiree coming out on top. But then it was announced. “Hold all tickets.” There was a steward’s inquiry and a jockey objection.
The head on replay showed bumping between the top two finishers.
“Ladies and gentlemen there has been a change in the order of finish,” said track announcer Pete Aiello.
Camila Princess, the daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, came out on top, Midnight Soiree was disqualified to second, Whiteheelgirl won a tight photo for third over a hard charging Strike My Fancy.
Longshots ruled in the Not Surprising
Next, the Not Surprising was once again full of surprises. And once again, Judd van Worp, owner of Not Surprising, proudly handed out the trophy to the winning connections of Gemonteer.
Poor post positions hampered the favorites just enough, so the payouts would see boxcar numbers.
The favorite and Todd Pletcher trainee Coltandmississippi rated outside from the 11-post position. But when the stretch run came, he just didn’t have anything in the tank and faded to a distant seventh.
Co-favorite Silent Citizen was covered up mid-pack from his post position. This cost him late in the race. Stuck in Miami-like traffic, he had to steer through it and was too late to the dance. He finished a decent fourth.
Meanwhile Jena Antonucci-trained Gemonteer went straight to the lead and never looked back. After an impressive 1:10.4 six furlongs he kicked it into another gear. He won by a stellar 4 ¾ lengths and paid a healthy $18.40 on the win.
The FloridaHBPA would like to thank all the owners and trainers who participated in these races. Four more races are left in the FHBPA/GP Spring/Summer Stakes Series this year. Next up is The Benny the Bull Stakes on August 25.