While handicapping the Primal Force Stakes
, one thing stuck out like a sore thumb: the jockey change for Fusaichiswonderful
. In her U.S. debut, the chestnut Fusaichi Pegasus filly had Gulfstream newcomer Joel Rosario
in the irons. Despite her impeccable record, the star of Puerto Rico was never a threat while racing too far off the pace for her liking and getting hung wide entering the stretch. Stable mate Kauai Katie
was the big winner that day, and she had trainer Todd Pletcher’s
go-to guy at Gulfstream, John Velaquez
, as her pilot. Status means everything, and when you are the star of the show, you get the cream of the crop.
With no other Pletcher trainee in the Primal Force, Fusaichiswonderful was granted an upgrade in terms of jockeys. Now I am not knocking Rosario, but the fact of the matter is that Velazquez fits speed type horses like Wranglers fit a cowboy. Seeing that Johnny V. had the call on Fusaichiswonderful, I knew that she was going to be dangerous because he would use her speed to her advantage rather than choke her back off the pace. What I did not anticipate, however, was that she would improve so drastically that she would actually beat the heavily favored So Many Ways
So Many Ways had a poor start and never looked comfortable while racing just off the pace in fourth. Vitameta and R Free Roll went straight out to vie for the lead, and Fusaichiswonderful pressed the pace from the outside in third. Turning for home, Fusaichiswonderful poked her head in front and proceeded to atone for her previous loss by rolling home to a 5 ¾ length victory under a hand ride. R Free Roll kept the place, and So Many Ways was able to gain the show by passing the tired Vitameta. As suspected, longshot Candy Coded Kisses trailed the field all the way around the track and was never a factor.
Obviously So Many Ways did not have things go her way today. She was already at a bit of a disadvantage due to coming in off an extended layoff. The poor break only served to make things even worse since it caused her to be too far off the pace for her running style. This is not to detract from Fusaichiswonderful’s win. I happen to think the Puerto Rican import is a very talented filly, and with the right jockey, she was able to prove it today. I do believe, however, that had things gone better for So Many Ways, that the Primal Force would have been a horse race rather than a frolicking romp for the winner. Either way, keep an eye on Fusaichiswonderful. Today she proved that her undefeated record down south was no fluke and that she is here and means business.