Charge It returns a winner at Gulfstream Park

Charge It returns a winner at Gulfstream Park
Photo: Bob Coglianese Photos

Charge It made a much-anticipated and triumphant return from a seven-month layoff Sunday at Gulfstream Park, scoring an always-in-control 1 1/2-length victory in the featured $87,000 optional-claiming allowance.

Sidelined since capturing the July 2 Dwyer (G3) at Belmont Park by a dazzling 23 lengths, Charge It stalked a solid early pace before moving to the lead leaving the far turn and continuing on to a comfortable decision over late-rallying Vittorio.

“You never take anything for granted in this game. The horse was training super. We felt like we had him ready off the layoff,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He was stalking some pretty nice fractions and did it nicely. The horse that finished second had some pretty good form too. It was what we were hoping to see.”

Charge It, the 1-5 favorite in a field of seven in race 8, ran 1 1/16 miles under Luis Saez in 1:41.96 over a track rated good.

“The trip was great. He’s a pretty fast horse. The key with him was to try to make him relax behind horses and he did great. He laid off and did it perfect,” Saez said. “We came to the half-mile pole, and I had so much horse. I just let him go a little early so he can breathe and be all right, and at the top of the stretch I just came with him and didn’t really do anything. I didn’t let him go because we wanted to save something. He felt very good. He’s doing unbelievable. He came back great.”

Charge It graduated by 8 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream in his second career start last February before overcoming a starting gate problem to finish second behind White Abarrio in the Florida Derby (G1) in April. The Pletcher trainee finished off the board in the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he encountered traffic, before rebounding with his spectacular showing in the Dwyer.

“Our big goals for the summer are the Met Mile (G1) and the Whitney (G1),” Pletcher said. “We have to figure out what we’re going to do between now and the Met Mile.”

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