Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Harold Lerner’s The Truth or Else made a wide stretch surge to register a mild upset victory in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Ken McPeek-trained 5-year-old ran seven furlongs in 122:90 to score by 2 ¼ lengths in the third of nine stakes worth $2.45 million in purses on Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) program.
The son of Yes Its True, who was ridden by Joel Rosario, was sent to post at 7-1 for his first race of the year, for which he prepared with a series of workouts at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL.
Hammer’s Vision, a 5-1 shot ridden by Julien Leparoux, made a wide sweep to take the lead in mid-stretch but settled for second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of French Quarter.
Sir Shackleton Quotes
Owner Harold Lerner (The Truth Or Else): “I knew we was training well. Kenny had him at Payson Park and he usually runs well off a layoff. He’s a one-turn horse, which is significant because earlier in his career we had him going two turns and we ran against (American) Pharoah a couple of times in Arkansas ... the Rebel, the Arkansas Derby ... but about a year ago we decided we were going to turn him back. And one-turn is his game. I wasn’t sure if he’d like the surface today but one-turn is his game. He really came running at the end. I'm very proud of him. He’s a tough horse. He gives it his all almost every single time. He’s definitely an off-the-pace horse. We he was younger, he had some speed. He would show it early in the race. But whoever has ridden him in the past would take him back, let him relax and then make that one big tun. We saw that big run today. He’s been staked place a few times but this is his first stakes win so were really happy about that.”
Jockey Joel Rosario (The Truth Or Else): “I thought for a second, ‘Wow, I’m really far back.’ I know he comes from off the pace, but it was going through my mind that maybe they were going fast [up front]. He had a nice run for me at the end. For a second, I thought maybe I even moved a little early because I was so far back and then he caught everybody by the eighth pole.”
Conquest Hardcandy Front-Running Winner of $100,000 Sanibel Island
Hours before he was scheduled to saddle program favorite Gunnevera for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1), trainer Antonio Sano sent out Alfonso Cammarota’s Conquest Hardcandy for a front-running victory in the $100,000 Sanibel Island for 3-year-old fillies.
Jockey Edgard Zayas settled Conquest Hardcandy ($19.40) on the lead with mild pressure from 24-1 long shot Fancy Kitten and 2-1 favorite Happy Mesa, following up a 23.53-second opening quarter with fractions of 48.81 for the half and 1:12.35 for six furlongs.
Set down for the drive after straightening for home, Conquest Hardcandy was able to hold off the challenge from Happy Mesa to her outside through length of the stretch and win by a neck in 1:35.50 over a firm turf course. Taperge was another half-length back in third.
It was the first stakes win in just her fourth career start for Conquest Hardcandy, who faded to seventh after setting the early pace in the Herecomesthebride (G3) March 4 at Gulfstream.
Sanibel Island Quotes
Trainer Antonio Sano (Conquest Hardcandy): “I bought the filly and waited three months to run the first time. I liked the filly for speed on the turf. She won her first race wire to wire. The next race was very close (three weeks apart). I waited one month for this race. I told (Edgard Zayas ) to repeat the first race – wire to wire, win the race. I think last time he went a little too fast.”
Dover Cliffs Wins Stakes Debut in $100,000 Cutler Bay
Robert S. Evans’ homebred Dover Cliffs turned in a smashing performance to win his stakes debut in the $100,000 Cutler Bay for 3-year-olds on the grass.
Trained by Christophe Clement, who two races earlier won the Honey Fox (G2) with Celestine, Dover Cliffs was a 1 1/2-length winner over pacesetter, the 80-1 Gemologister. Shiraz finished third, a half-length behind the runner-up in the eight-horse field.
Dover Cliffs, the 6-5 favorite, was ridden by Jose Ortiz, who also rode Celestine for Clement in the $300,000 Honey Fox.
A son of English Channel, Dover Cliffs competed the mile distance in 1:35.16 and returned $4.40.
Source: Gulfstream Park