Gulfstream: Basin wins Sir Shackleton, Eye of a Jedi takes Ghostzapper

Gulfstream: Basin wins Sir Shackleton, Eye of a Jedi takes Ghostzapper
Photo: Gulfstream Park

Multiple Grade 1 winner Basin made a triumphant return to action off a six-month layoff Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring an off-the-pace victory in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton.

The Sir Shackleton, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses, was one of 10 stakes on a 14-race card that was headlined by the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1.

Basin, who won the 2019 Hopeful (G1) and was awarded the victory in the 2020 Arkansas Derby (G1) via the subsequent disqualification of the first-place finisher while being trained by Steve Asmussen, was making his first start since finishing second in the Aug. 29 Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga in his first start for Todd Pletcher.

Basin, the 3-2 favorite, prevailed by a half-length over Frosted Grace while completing the seven furlongs in 1:23.19. Frosted Grace held off Town Classic by another half-length.

Eye of a Jedi makes the grade in Ghostzapper

Owner/trainer Steve Budhoo’s Eye of a Jedi, who has beaten his share of graded-stakes winners, ran the race of his life in Saturday’s $100,000 Ghostzapper (G3) at Gulfstream Park to win the first graded stakes of his career.

The Ghostzapper. a 1 1/8-mile race for older horses, was one of 10 stakes on a 14-race program featuring 10 stakes and headlined by the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1).

Already graded stakes-placed twice during the Championship Meet, Eye of a Jedi ($10.40) defeated favored Last Judgment by 5 ½ while running the 1 1/8-miles in 1:48.83 and rewarding Budhoo with his first graded-stakes success.

Ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, the hard-knocking 6-year-old gelding was rated off a hotly contested pace set by Last Judgment and pressed by Superfecto during fractions of 23.60 and 46.43 for the first half-mile. Castellano asked Eye of a Jedi for some run, and the son of Eye of a Leopard advanced steadily on the far turn to enter contention on the turn into the homestretch.

Mike Maker-trained Last Judgement continued to show the way at the top of the stretch but proved no match for the fresher legs of Eye of a Jedi, who drew away to a comfortable victory.

Last Judgment, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Jose Ortiz, held second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Superfecto and jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Eye of the Jedi, who finished second behind Tax in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) and lost a photo in the Jan. 23 Fred W. Hooper (G3), was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).

Gray’s Fable authors successful return in $100,000 Appleton

Steve Goldfine, Kari Provost and Jeff Zlonis’ gelding Gray’s Fable, racing for the first time in 197 days, became a stakes winner in his second try with a front-running 2 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The 69th running of the one-mile Appleton for 4-year-olds and up on turf was the fourth of 10 stakes, and first of six graded, worth $1.85 million on a blockbuster 14-race program anchored by the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1), one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.

Also bred by Zlonis, Gray’s Fable completed the distance in 1:32.64 over a firm course to give jockey Junior Alvarado his second win of the day and both he and Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield their first Appleton triumph.

“When we left the gate he broke very good so I kind of smooched him a little bit and let him do his own thing,” Alvarado said. “I was pretty sure that he knew what he was going to do.”

Breaking from the rail in a field of eight, Gray’s Fable quickly established position up front after a quarter-mile in 23.61 seconds and a half in 46.55, tracked in second by Ever Dangerous. Gray’s Fable remained in control after going six furlongs in 1:09.38 and extended his advantage once straightened for home.

Renaisance Frolic got up to edge Ever Dangerous for second, followed by Perfect Speighty, 2-1 favorite Seismic Wave, Forever Mo, Little Menace and Frostmourne.

Gray’s Fable was making his first start since capturing a one-mile optional claimer on the Woodbine turf last Sept. 12. In his only other stakes attempt, the son of two-time turf champion Gio Ponti was sixth in the Connaught Cup (G2) last June, also at Woodbine.

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