Shockers, coincidence and drama were part of the 4th of July card at Gulfstream Park leading into the Florida HBPA Stakes Series race named after 1995 Eclipse Award Winning Sprinter, ‘Not Surprising.’
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione had won a record-tying 7 races on the card and was looking to beat the track record set by Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, which just so happened to have taken place in 1995.
Earlier in the card the FHBPA Stakes Series $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes was run at one-mile for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
Todd Pletcher trainee Adorable Miss went off the heavy 1 to 2 favorite and did not disappoint. She controlled the field, winning by three-quarters of a length under a mild drive by Gaffalione who swept the first three races on the card.
Owned by Mathis Stable LLC and bred by Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy had previously run at Penn National, shipped up to Saratoga for a workout, then shipped all the way down to South Florida for this race.
“We like it here at Gulfstream. Terry [Mathis] and I had a great meet down here, a real success, and we have Bronson running in the tenth race. We had a chance to be here on the fourth of July and watch two runs, that was a real motivator,” said co-owner Bill Mathis.
“Plus, I think Florida summer racing is going to continue to gain momentum. They’ve got a great venue and a great track. I think this stakes series will grow and expand as there will be more and more owners looking to come down here and take advantage of it,” he concluded.
Later, as the 10th race approached post time, the crowd was gathering toward the rail hoping to witness history. The 10-horse field of 3-year-old colts were preparing to battle for the $100,000 purse. Tyler Gaffalione was riding the 6-5 favorite Bronson who had run-down pace-setting General McGooby on May 6th in the English Channel. For many fans, Gaffalione looked like a shoo-in to break the record.
However, trainer Lilli Kurtinecz and jockey Ramsey Zimmerman had other ideas. Zimmerman took full advantage of his rail post position placing General McGooby right on the engine once again, setting a manageable pace with plenty left in the tank to hold off a hard charging Bronson and winning at 10-1 odds.
“I had a lot, and a little confidence coming in,” joked Lilli Kurtinecz. “He never runs the same race twice so you don’t know what you’re going to get. But he tries every time. I’m really happy as it was the first stakes win for the owners No Palla stables.”
This Stakes Series is awesome for us. My older Florida-bred Manchurian High is coming back too so I hope to dominate some Florida-bred racing. So, Florida-bred all-day long. I have fillies, I have young and old up in Palm Meadows. Bring the Florida-bred races on,” she said.
On Saturday July 1, there were two FHBPA Stakes Series races. The Florida-bred enhanced Kiss a Native for 2-year-old colts and the Florida-bred enhanced Brave Raj for 2-year-old fillies, both 5 ½ furlong dirt races each with purses of $100,000.
The Kiss a Native was won by Diamond Oops ridden by Luis Saez, trained by Patrick Biancone and owned by Diamond 100 Racing Club, LLC, Dunne, Amy E. and Patrick L. Biancone LLC
The Brave Raj was won by Rose to Fame ridden by Edgard Zayas, trained by Antonio Sano and owned by Sano Racing Stables Inc.
Watch the Not Surprising Stakes