Endorsed Wins Third Straight in Gulfstream Park Mile (G2)
Heavily Favored Charge It Runs Second, Beaten 1 ½ Lengths
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mark D. Breen’s Endorsed continued to show his affinity for Gulfstream Park as he won the $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) in an upset on Saturday.
The Gulfstream Park Mile for 4-year-olds and up was the fifth of nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.85 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program anchored by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds.
Sent off at odds of 5-1, Endorsed beat Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Charge It, the 3-5 favorite, to the finish line. The two horses had engaged at the top of the stretch, but it was Endorsed and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who spurted ahead and defeated Charge It by 1 ½ lengths.
Endorsed ($13.80) won for the fourth time in nine career starts at Gulfstream; this was also his third straight victory. Trained by Mike Maker, Endorsed won the Fred Hooper (G3) in his first start of the year.
The 7-year-old Endorsed is a son of Medaglia d’Oro. He has seven wins in 34 career starts and has also finished second eight times and third in five other races.
Charge It, a 4-year-old son of Tapit, had earned the favorite’s role in the nine-horse field after winning an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream on Feb. 5. That was his first start off a seven-month layoff.
The final time for the mile over the fast track was 1:35.25.
Third place went to Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric’s Simplification, who was making his first start since a seventh-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28.
$200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) Quotes
Winning trainer Mike Maker (Endorsed): “It looked he was traveling well the whole race in perfect position and when it came time, he was the best horse.”
“I really think he likes it here. He had a really good winter here last year. He was fourth in the Pegasus. He’s coming to hand right now.”
Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione (Endorsed): “My horse broke alertly. I looked to my outside and [jockey] Irad [Ortiz Jr. aboard Nitrous Channel] wasn’t pressing [Charge It] so I went ahead and let my horse run a little bit. He just kept gaining confidence and building on that and in the stretch he just put them away.”
“Going into the far turn I was about a half-length off [Charge It]. I let my horse out a bit and he just kept building on that. He gave me the confidence and I could feel him getting more confident. He put it all together today. It was a big effort. All the credit to [trainer] Mike [Maker] and his team. They really figured this horse out and he’s proven it now.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher (Charge It, 2nd, beaten favorite): “[Jockey Luis Saez] said he ran well. He was just kind of under pressure most of the way and got a little bit intimidated. Then when he pulled him out he surged a little bit again but was a little bit green. It kind of reminded me of the way he ran in the Florida Derby last year. He’s kind of still figuring things out. He’s still a horse that’s light on experience and hopefully some more races under his belt will help that.”
“We kind of talked about maybe coming back in the Oaklawn Handicap [G2, April 22]. We’ll see. I don’t think he did anything today to knock us off course for considering that.”