Stuart S. Janney III’s Kentucky homebred 5-year-old Data Link
sent off the 11-to-10 favorite in a solid field of 10 older horses to
run in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park,
and proved best, rallying down the outside to score by a length over
Joseph Witek’s 5-year-old Joes Blazing Aaron in the one mile turf test.
Making his first start since winning the Citation Handicap (G2) at
Hollywood Park after shipping to California on Nov. 23, Data Link was
ridden by leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano for trainer Shug
McGaughey. The son of War Front rallied three-wide in the final turn and
appeared to have his rivals measured to the wire.
“He’s just a good horse,” said McGaughey. “He had to go outside, but
he’s just better than these horses. We know it’ll get tougher for him
as we go along. He couldn’t have trained any better at Payson (Park)
this winter with one good breeze after another.
“We’ll probably go back to Keeneland for the Maker’s Mark again.
Long term, I’d like to have him for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) later in
the year. I think he’s that kind.” McGaughey was referring to the
$300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Apr. 12, a race he won
last year after finishing third in the Canadian Turf.
"It was a beautiful dream trip, saving ground around the first
turn,” said Castellano. “He responded so well. I really like this horse.
I'm so proud of him. I rode him back on the dirt a while ago (his
career debut) and now I had the opportunity to ride him on the turf,
which he loves. He's a beautiful horse and gave me everything he had
Finishing third in the Canadian was Belle Meadows Farm and Lael
Stable’s Beau Choix, who finished a half-length behind the runner-up
after rallying up the fence. Data Link paid $4.20 to win and was timed
the mile over the ‘firm’ course in 1:33:01.