In a potentially informative entry-level allowance for three-year-olds, Darley Stable's CROSSBOW (Bernardini) outdueled a stubborn Sovereign Default (Northern Afleet) in Saturday's 5TH race at Gulfstream Park. The two impressive maiden winners dominated in the wagering as well, with Crossbow the slight even-money favorite over the 6-5 Sovereign Default, and the margin of victory on the track wasn't that much larger.
Crossbow had a recency advantage, having scored by three lengths in front-running fashion at Aqueduct on January 2. In contrast, Sovereign Default hadn't raced since his successful debut at Belmont Park on July 15.
Sovereign Default grabbed a slim early lead from the rail, but Crossbow was already lapped onto him, and the stage was set for a protracted battle. The two alternated for the lead through fractions of :23 and :45 2/5, by which time Chateau D' Kim (Yes It's True) moved up between them. His attempt to break up the match race was short-lived, for he could not go on with the top two.
Crossbow, who appeared to be traveling more easily than Sovereign Default turning for home, began to inch clear at the six-furlong mark in 1:09 2/5. Sovereign Default was all heart on the inside, however, and he kept fighting back. For his part, Crossbow kept responding. Never relinquishing his hard-won advantage in the stretch, Crossbow finally pulled away by three-quarters of a length.