Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Kroy made a brilliant transition from turf to dirt Sunday at Gulfstream Park, speeding to a 1 ½-length triumph in the $100,000 Bear’s Den, a stakes for Florida-bred 3-year-olds that was moved from the turf course to the main track due to heavy early morning rain.
The 3-year-old son of The Factor, who had exclusively run on dirt in his seven career starts, set dazzling fractions of 22.82 (seconds), 45.39, 1:08.79 during the first six furlongs before clocking in at 1:21.69 for the seven furlongs run over a fast track. Sent to post as the even-money favorite in a field of six, Kroy notched his third straight win and second straight stakes victory under jockey Emisael Jaramillo.
“I knew the horse was going to run great because he’s better than ever, but I didn’t expect to win like that,” said De La Cerda, noting that Kroy has siblings that raced exclusively on dirt.
Zipping, the only horse with a victory over dirt in the field, pressed the pace under Aby Medina but came up short in the stretch to finish second, 9 ¼ lengths ahead of He’s the One and jockey Luca Panici.
Undefeated in two starts since being equipped with blinkers, Kroy had previously won a mile optional claiming allowance and the 7 ½ furlong Tortugas Stakes over the Gulfstream turf course.
“We found out he likes dirt, so it worked out well,” said Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Richard Papiese, who made a weekend trip to South Florida with his wife, Karen, specifically to watch Kroy run in the Bear’s Den.
De La Cerda has set the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 25 as a target for the late developing gelding.
“This horse has shown me that he’s improved a lot. I’ve got to find better and tougher races to see what I have,” De La Cerda said. “I think it’s time to give him more opportunity.”
Source: Gulfstream Park