Sophomore Soiree day at Gulfstream Park ended up being a veritable tour de force for many of the winners. Four stakes races for 3-YOs were on today’s card, but it was not just the stakes runners that were making statements. Three winners of non-stakes races combined to win their races by 20 ¾ lengths.
Easily the most impressive winner of the day was Live Lively, a dark bay filly by Medaglia d’Oro. Setting all the pace, Live Lively cruised through splits of 22.42 and 44.96 before pulling away to win the 7 furlong contest by 11 ¼ lengths in a final time of 1.23:14. Today’s win makes the speedy filly 2 for 3 lifetime. She was beaten in her debut race in June by stakes placed Baby J but returned to the starting gate five months later to break her maiden at second asking in a 5 ½ furlong affair. The increase in distance obviously did her a world of good, as evidenced by her convincing victory against winners.
Let’s Go Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher sent out Verrazano (More Than Ready—Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway) in the second race on the card, a maiden race for three year olds. The bay colt immediately proved why Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez are a duo to be reckoned with at Gulfstream. After tracking the pace through the first stages of the race, Verrazano began to advance through the turn before taking charge of the race and pulling away to win by 7 ¾ lengths. He stopped the clock in 1.16:48 for the 6 ½ furlong race. Verrazano’s next race is yet to be determined.
Bradester was also impressive in his first start against winners. Under Jose Lezcano, the bay son of Lion Heart sat just off the pacesetters through most of the race. Coming into the stretch, he moved up to vie for the lead while racing greenly. Once Lezcano got his mount straightened out, the duo continued on, gaining and holding the lead. Bradester has proven in his three lifetime starts that he likes a bit of distance. In his debut race, a seven furlong affair, he finished second, nine lengths behind the winner. In his second start, trainer Eddie Kenneally placed him in a mile and a sixteenth race, and Bradester pulled away to win by 3 ¼ lengths while being kept to the task at hand.
Live Lively and Bradester could easily have raced in stakes company today. Though I am not sure if there was any catching Kauai Katie in the G3 Old Hat, Live Lively was so impressive in her race that she surely would have given Katie a run for her money. Bradester was in fact nominated to the Gulfstream Park Derby, won by Itsmyluckyday, but Kenneally’s first choice for his charge was the allowance race if it filled. It did fill, and the rest you already know. With two wins over a route of ground and his next start likely being the G3 Holy Bull, it looks like we will be seeing more of Bradester in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby. Shanghai Bobby had better watch his back because Bradester is coming for him and distance has not yet proven to be a problem.