($11.40) was ridden to perfection by jockey Joel Rosario in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3) to give trainer Chad Brown his fifth straight win in the one-mile turf test for 3-year-old fillies.
Owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, the bay filly came into the Sweetest Chant off a fast-finishing second in the Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 2, and tucked into a ground-saving spot in midfield as longshots Go Ro Ro Go and Born to Be Winner disputed the lead.
Rosario allowed the Temple City filly to edge closer entering the final turn and looked to be primed for victory, but was forced to tap on the brakes when the pacesetters began to tire. The duo angled to the rail, only to find that hole shut off, and switched back out to knife between fillies. In the end, Pricedtoperfection had three-quarters of a length to spare over late-charging Spinamiss, with Born to Be Winner hanging on for third. She stopped the clock in 1:36.98.
“We got bothered a little bit turning for home, I went to the inside and the horse in front of me came in; I went outside and he came out,” Rosario said. “For a second, I thought I wouldn’t get through, but she handled everything. She was fighting all the way. She was game today.”
Brown admitted to a few anxious moments when Pricedtoperfection launched her bid.
“When she had to steady there turning for home, maybe a couple times, I was concerned,” he added. “But, I was happy with the path that Joel chose. We had planned that in the paddock, that if we could get a covered-up trip for most of the way, take it. Those are the risks in turf racing if you’re going to stay covered. You might have some tired horses stopping on front of you. Thankfully he had a good enough horse under him to re-break again turning for home when he had a clear run. It looks like she made more than one run in the race, which is impressive.”
Pricedtoperfection, a full-sister to stakes winner Miss Temple City, drew off to graduate in her second turf try at Belmont on October 17. She was beaten five lengths when ninth in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland on October 30, but bounced back with her solid effort in the Ginger Brew at Gulfstream. Her Sweetest Chant success was the fifth consecutive for a Chad Brown inmate, following the hoofprints of Consumer Credit, Ready to Act, Premier Steps and Dayatthespa.
“I didn’t even realize it until I read it this week coming into the race,” Brown said. “When you have good horses to work with every year and top people to work with the horses, you can get on a run like this in a race like this. I’m just lucky I have the horses, the clients to buy them and send them to us, and here’s the result. We’ve done well in this race.”
J R’s Holiday Pounces to Victory in Kitten’s Joy
Locally based J R’s Holiday ($40.80) benefited from a rail-skimming ride by jockey Emisael Jaramillo to upset his more fancied rivals in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes on the Gulfstream Park grass course. Owned by J R Racing and trained by Jose Garoffalo, the son of Harlan’s Holiday was content to caboose the six-horse field as Don’t Be So Salty eagerly set the pace. Jaramillo and J R’s Holiday began to advance approaching the far turn and committed to the inside for his rally. Don’t Be So Salty began to drift a bit, compromising Azar and Little Mo, and J R’s Holiday took advantage of clear sailing to cross the wire three-quarters of a length in front. The final time for the one-mile Kitten’s Joy was 1:35.20.
Don’t Be So Salty was disqualified and placed fourth, with Azar and Little Mo being put up to second and third, respectively. Life Imitates Art, who was coming off a victory in the Dania Beach Stakes (G3) on January 2, faded to finish fifth, while favored Conquest Daddyo was a lackluster sixth.
“I was very comfortable, I just waited for the race to develop until the horses opened up,” Jaramillo said through an interpreter. “When I turned for home, it was better to go inside. Everybody swung out so it was better to go to the rail When he made the lead he started goofing around, but I had a lot of horse.”
Garoffalo, who first gained fame as the conditioner of 2014 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) hero Wildcat Red, was thrilled with the effort produced by J R’s Holiday.
“I always had a very good concept of this horse,” Garoffalo said. “I always thought he could beat these horses. I give a lot of credit to the rider—he did a great job and stayed inside. This horse especially loves the rail, he loves to run on the inside.”
J R’s Holiday, purchased for $55,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March Sale held at Gulfstream Park 10 months ago, began his career with a trio of non-threatening races on dirt. Second by a neck in his turf debut in August, the Kentucky-bred colt broke his maiden by 6 1/4 lengths over this surface on September 12. He was beaten less than a length when third in the Armed Forces Stakes on October 3 and came into the Kitten’s Joy off a determined score going 8 1/2 furlongs on December 13. He was produced by the Empire Maker mare Diza, whose siblings include turf standouts Cetewayo, Dynaforce and Bowman Mill.
“He’s a closer and the longer, the better,” Garoffalo added. “I tried him on the dirt, but he didn’t show too much class and he was a little green. Maybe it was too short for him. Maybe I’ll give him another shot on the dirt, but not now. For the moment, the plan is to run in the ($150,000) Palm Beach (G3 on February 27).”
Source: Gulfstream Park