Dismissed at odds of 14-1 by bettors, Falling Sky proved he was more than a one hit wonder with a smooth,
front-running score in the G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. Last year the now 4-year old son of Lion Heart made some noise
on the Kentucky Derby trail, taking the Sam F. Davis before running 3rd
and 4th in the Tampa Bay Derby and Arkansas Derby, respectively.
When the Big Dance came around, however, the colt was a non-factor, finishing dead
last. After that dismal performance, the colt was given some time off and
transferred from John Terranova II’s barn to George Weaver’s.
In his first start for his new trainer, Falling Sky ran into
bad racing luck. Stumbling out of the gate, the colt worked his way up into the
6th spot before ultimately giving way and finishing 9th
in the field of 10 assembled for the City of Laurel Stakes at Laurel Park. The
colt then ran into a buzz saw in Revolutionary
in his second start off the layoff. Out of the gate quickly, Falling Sky led
every step of the way in the NW3X optional claimer at Gulfstream but was just
nipped at the wire by the returning Revolutionary.
Falling Sky’s effort against Revolutionary last out had him
primed and ready to fire today, and boy did he run a doozy of a race. With Luis
Saez back in the irons, Falling Sky rocketed out of the gate from post position
5 and quickly settled in on the lead. Singanothersong
was sharp out of the gate, too, and moved up to pressure his rival on the front
end. With Singanothersong glued to his outside flank, Falling Sky threw down
splits of 22:61 and 44:37 and a scorching 1.07:86 for 6 furlongs. Then in the
stretch drive, instead of back pedaling after setting such a grueling pace,
Falling Sky turned for home and pulled away from the field, sailing under the
wire clear by 5 ¼ lengths.
Narvaez, who raced at the back of the field, closed from
second last to get the place. Also closing from the back of the field was Brujo
de Olleros, who got up for 3rd in the final furlong. The order of
finish was completed by Catron, Singanothersong, Reveron, Laugh Track, Silver
Menace, Jackson Bend, Fort Loudon,
and Purple Egg.
Falling Sky just missed the track record by two-tenths of a
second while setting a new stakes record by completing the 7 furlongs in 1.20:65. It was bombs away for the pari-mutuel
payoffs. Off odds of 14-1, Falling Sky returned $31.60/$13.40/$8.00. One
hundred thirty-nine to one longshot Narvaez paid a whopping $89.20/$23.60 for
the place, and Brujo de Olleros paid $4.80 for the show. Exotic payoffs were
also huge as the $2 exacta was worth $1,627.00, the $1 trifecta was worth
$5,077.60, and the $1 superfecta was worth $32,331.40.
Talking about Falling Sky's previous race, trainer George Weaver stated, "That race was actually run faster than the Hal's Hope later in the day. We thought in that race, internally, that he ran a very, very good seven furlongs. He got tired in the last 100 yards or so." Cutting back in distance for the Sprint was an easy decision, one Weaver explained, "We're like, 'Ok, we went a mile. We'll cut back to seven furlongs and he'll fly.' I didn't know he would fly that high, but he did."
Falling Sky’s scintillating win in the Gulfstream Park
Sprint greatly flattered Revolutionary, who races tomorrow in the mile and an
eighth Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Not
that the multiple graded stakes winning son of War Pass needed flattering, but
it always makes a contender look better when the competition they beat previously
comes back to win in such a huge way in their next outing. Among others that
Revolutionary will face is the 3-Year Old Champion Colt Will Take Charge.
Luis Saez, who has been aboard Falling Sky for 5 of the colt's races, stated after the race, "My horse ran really well; he felt very comfortable. I knew I had a lot of horse left when I asked him in the stretch. He felt good the whole way. Last time, I think he just needed the race, so I knew he would be tough today."
Though the decision on the colt's next race has not yet been made, Weaver already knows what his main goal for the year will be with Falling Sky. Sprinting will be the focus, and the colt will be aimed for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November.
Out of the stakes placed Sea Hero mare Sea Dragoness, Falling Sky has been through the auction ring twice. As a weanling, he went for a mere $16,000 to Armachan Stable and Off the Hook LLC at the Keeneland 2010 November Breeding Stock Sale. His sale price jumped significantly when he was purchased for $425,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2013 Winter Mixed Sale by Justin Casse on behalf of Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello, and Joseph Bulger. Now a winner of 5 races from 11 total starts, Falling Sky has earned $380,470.