E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC’s Soaring Stocks cruised around the final turn and surged down the stretch to pass frontrunner Royal Currier in the final strides of the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint and score his first stakes victory.
In his first stakes attempt, the 4-year-old colt broke last after bumping with Madman Diaries at the start, but jockey John Velazquez quickly moved Soaring Stocks into third, racing off the pace of second choice Royal Currier, who set fractional times of 22.02, 44.19, and 56.24, with Madman Diaries sitting in second. Velazquez made his move going into the final turn to pass the fading Madman Diaries and overtake Royal Currier down the stretch. Cajun Breeze and jockey Juan Leyva closed down the stretch and slipped between Soaring Stocks and Royal Currier near the wire, calling for a photo that showed Cajun Breeze up for second and Royal Currier hanging on for third. The final time was 1:09.49.
“The race set up absolutely perfectly,” Velazquez said. “He broke fast enough to be not too far back and right in contention. I had to get busy on him a little earlier than I would have liked to the way the track is playing today but it didn’t seem to empty his tank. He had plenty left when I asked him.”
The win for Velazquez was his second on the card.
Soaring Stocks entered the Sprint off a 2-length allowance win at Gulfstream on January 12 for trainer Todd Pletcher, having raced in only one other allowance and two maiden special weight races.
“He came out of his last race so well we thought he was up to coming back in this spot,” Pletcher said. “This is a nice program for Florida-breds, but this race came up very tough. We’ve always thought he was a nice horse.”
His final odds for the Sprint were 4.50-1.
The 1.90-1 favorite Apriority and Zero Rate Policy, the top two finishers by a nose in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) on December 31, battled each other throughout the race for the fourth and fifth positions. Zero Rate Policy and rider Paco Lopez overtook Apriority and jockey Luis Saez around the turn but failed to advance from fourth. Apriority faded to seventh while going wide around the field on the turn.
“Today he broke very, very good,” Saez said, referring to Apriority’s improvement from a bad stumble out of the gate in the Mr. Prospector. “When he was coming in the turn he tried to go a little out. In the work, one week last, he was coming a little out, too. Today again.”