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Winchester, Brass Hat Top Pan American

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s 5-year-old Winchester will be the favorite and horse to beat in a field of 11 older horses entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, a race that also will mark the season debut of Fred Bradley’s remarkable 9-year-old gelding Brass Hat.

Jockey Alan Garcia rides Winchester for trainer Christophe Clement in the 1 ½ miles turf course marathon after a solid runner-up performance last out in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida Stakes (G3) on Feb. 28, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Presious Passion in his first start since another good try finishing third behind Cloudy’s Knight in the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder on Dec. 26.

A Virginia homebred son of the Firestones’ 1987 Eclipse champion turf horse Theatrical, Winchester began his career in Ireland with trainer Dermot Weld and won his American racing debut as a 3-year-old in the 2008 Secretariat Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park.

In two good tries before the W.L. McKnight, Winchester finished runner-up in the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) to Grand Couturier at Belmont Park in September and second again, beaten a head by Cloudy’s Knight in the 12-furlong Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October.

Jockey Eddie Castro will be aboard Brass Hat for trainer William ‘Buff’ Bradley as he makes his first start since a game second-place effort last out in the 12-furlong Stars and Stripes Handicap (G3) at Arlington Park on Sept. 7 to complete a campaign that focused on long distance turf stakes.

Brass Hat is a Kentucky homebred by Prized whose career highlight was winning the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) over the Gulfstream course for trainer Neil Drysdale. The biggest victory of Brass Hat’s career was a wire-to-wire victory over a ‘sloppy’ track in the 2006 Donn Handicap (G1), and he begins another campaign with more than $2 million in earnings.

Two other contenders with credentials in the 49th edition of the Pan American are Lotheback Stable’s Bearpath and Gary and Mary West’s Expansion, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Mac Diarmida last out behind Presious Passion and Winchester.

Jockey Freddie Lenclud will be in town to ride Bearpath for trainer Ian Wilkes. The 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding made his stakes debut in the Mac Diarmida and was beaten 5 ¼ lengths for it all in his first start since capturing a ‘two other than’ allowance going 12 furlongs at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22.

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez gets the call on Expansion for trainer Chad Brown. The 5-year-old Maria’s Mon horse was well-backed at 3-to-1 in the Mac Diarmida as he made his first appearance since capturing the 11-furlong Red Smith Handicap (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 7 in his stakes race debut.

Completing the field for the Pan American are Mount Joy Stable’s Lemon Spice, Paco Lopez; Constantine and Peter Beler’s Brother Nick, C.H. Marquez, Jr.; Daniel-Yves Treves’ Never On Sunday, Joe Bravo; Butterfly Stable’s Memorial Maniac, E.T. Baird; Sundance Thoroughbreds’ Silver Mountain, Jesus Castanon; and Lazy F Ranch’s Uncle Indy, Manoel Cruz. 

Haras Cotacachi’s Gabriel’s Hill was entered for ‘main track only’ by trainer Seth Benzel with jockey Eddie Castro named to ride.

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