Graded-stakes winner Mr. Jordan, who had failed to win at Gulfstream Park in 12 previous attempts, visited the winner’s circle Saturday when he drove past Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2) runner-up Kroy down the stretch to win the $100,000 Big Drama.
The striking gray 6-year-old, who has faced many of country’s top horses at Gulfstream over the years, covered the seven furlong distance in 1:23.17 under jockey Edgard Zayas for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr, and owners David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa. It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Kroy in second and Hy Riverside in third. Three Rules, who swept the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes and was second in the 2017 Swale (G2), checked in fifth.
Mr. Jordan, a son of Kantharos, has now won nine of 29 starts, has finished first, second or third in 21 of those starts, and has earned more than $700,000.
“When they say he can’t win on this racetrack…well today he won on this racetrack,” said Plesa, who watched Mr. Jordan finish fifth last time out in the Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2). “He was coming in great. It’s a Florida-bred race which would benefit him because they’re hard to find. I always thought seven-eighths was a great distance for him…seven-eighths or a mile.
“We feel good. The ownership is outstanding on this horse and the horse deserves it.”
Kroy, the 2-1 favorite, broke on top leaving the gate and opened up a two-length on Mr. Jordan past an opening quarter in :23.02 while Three Rules was stuck along the inside in fourth after breaking from the rail. Past the three-eighths pole Mr. Jordan and Zayas engaged the leader from the outside and the race was on. Just inside the eighth pole, Mr. Jordan inched past Kroy and jockey Emisael Jaramillo and increased that margin to the finish line.
“I think I had the perfect trip, but it wasn’t what I was planning,” Zayas said. “I was hoping Three Rules and Kroy went head-to-head and I would stalk the pace. But Three Rules wasn’t there early so I had to put the pressure on. At the three-eighths pole I attacked [Kroy] and he responded.”
Mr. Jordan returned $11.40.
NOTE: Racing returns to Gulfstream Sunday with an 11-race program and a 1:15 p.m. first race post time. A Rainbow 6 carryover of $32,147.97 awaits.