Frank Calabrese’s Fast Anna, unraced since finishing fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), returned to the winner’s circle following a seven-month layoff in Thursday’s $60,000 Sawgrass Handicap.
The 4-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro and 2006 Eclipse Champion 2-year-old Filly Dreaming of Anna kept his perfect record at Gulfstream Park in tact, adding a turf victory to his two dominant dirt triumphs in the five-furlong grassy Sawgrass. Runner-up in both the King’s Bishop (G1) and the Gallant Bob (G3) stakes as a sophomore, Fast Anna improved his record to 6-3-2-0 and increased his lifetime earnings to $280,228.
Under jockey Michael Ritvo, in town to ride for his mother, trainer Kathy Ritvo, Fast Anna was sent straight to the lead in the Sawgrass and never let a horse pass him. Pressured throughout by Team Work Horseman Group’s Guarimbero, the muscular colt set swift fractions of 21.29 seconds for a quarter-mile and 43.72 seconds for a half. Unable to keep up with the pace, Guarimbero faded at the top of the lane as Fast Anna shook loose and began to draw off, but 9-2 second choice Breitling Flyer quickly began to close ground from the back of the pack. Trained by Enrique Sanchez, the Rontos Racing Stable color-bearer bore down on Fast Anna as the wire neared, but he could get no closer than a ½-length. The final time was 56.36 seconds.
“He’s a nice horse. It was a great return after seven months,” Kathy Ritvo said.
Fast Anna has been highly touted from the start. Unveiled in an impressive 2 ¼-length score in a maiden special weight contest at Gulfstream last April, in which he bested the Todd Pletcher trained Rock Fall, recent winner of the True North (G2) at Belmont Park, Fast Anna exceeded the lofty expectations set for him in his second start, romping by 13 lengths in an allowance three months later. From there, he graduated straight to Grade 1 competition and was beaten only a neck by The Big Beast in the King’s Bishop at Saratoga. After finishing second in Parx’s Gallant Bob Stakes, the colt ventured westward for the Breeders’ Cup and did not disgrace himself when finishing fifth in the Sprint behind winner Work All Week, 2014 Sprint Champion Secret Circle, multiple Grade 1 winner Private Zone, and Grade 2 winner Bourbon Courage. The Sawgrass was his first race since as well as his first start on turf.
“It feels great. Seven months, he’s been out of it. I want him to break a record!” Calabrese said of his horse’s fast time and fractions.
Fast Anna paid $2.20 to win as the 1-9 favorite, while Breitling Flyer returned $2.40 to place. Mr. Amos, another 2 ¾ lengths back, paid $4.40 to show. Can’t Stop the Kid, Lakota Warrior and Guarimbero complr of finish.
Friday's Rainbow 6 Carryover
There were multiple winning tickets on Thursday's 20-cent Rainbow 6, which means Friday's carryover will be $133,999.75. The multiple tickets with all six winners each paid $304.58.
The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is paid out only when there is a single ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
Source: Gulfstream Park