King Cab ‘Extraordinary’ in Return Off Layoff
Pass the Champagne Makes a Splash in Return Win Rainbow 6 Gross Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $150,000
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – King Cab made an eye-catching return from a five-month layoff Thursday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a 7 ¼-length triumph in a seven-furlong allowance race for Florida-bred 3-year-olds in Race 3.
“I thought for a long time that this horse could be something extraordinary,” trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “I think this horse can have a future.”
The gelded son of Noble Bird went right to the front under Paco Lopez and drew away to a convincing victory in a swift 1:21.79, setting fractions of 22.29 and 44.76 seconds for a half-mile and 1:08.83 for six furlongs.
“It was as tough a Florida-bred allowance that you’ll find, that’s the first thing,” Plesa said. “The second thing is the seven-eighths of a mile. It’s always been my thought that for first-time starters and horses coming off a layoff, seven-eighths of a mile is the toughest distance.”
King Cab, who is owned by David Melin, Leon Ellman and Plesa’s wife, Laurie, was a sharp first-out winner Aug. 6, overcoming a flat-footed start to win going away by three lengths. He finished far back in the Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed after another slow start and was sent to the sidelines.
“He kind of took a funny step in the middle of the turn and he broke bad that day,” said Plesa, a multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning trainer with more than 2400 victories. “He came back and was a little off. He didn’t need any surgery. We just gave him some time off. He’s come back and his works have been amazing.”
King Cab went to post as the 3-2 favorite in a field of six 3-year-olds.
Pass the Champagne Makes a Splash in Return Win
Making her first start since finishing a troubled 12th in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1), Pass the Champagne scored an impressive 2 ¾-length victory in Thursday’s Race 9 feature at Gulfstream Park.
R. A. Hill and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ 4-year-old daughter of Flatter stalked a quick early pace set by Mona Stella and pressed by Psychic Ability before making a sweeping move to the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch and drawing off under Luis Saez. The Kentucky-bred filly ran seven furlongs in 1:23.71 while beating seven horses in the entry-level optional claiming allowance.
“It was a long layoff and I thought she might get a little tired at the end, but they went 44 (seconds) and change and she was right up there with them turning for home,” trainer George Weaver said.
Pass the Champagne ($3.20), who finished second in her debut for trainer Rusty Arnold at Gulfstream in January 2021, broke her maiden a month later at Gulfstream after being transferred to Weaver. She went on to finish second, beaten by a head by Malathaat, in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in her next start.
“She trains like a very good filly in the morning, and hopefully this is a step to bigger things,” Weaver said. “We’re happy with her performance today. You never know how the respond when they come off that layoff, and it looked like she came back running.
Rainbow 6 Gross Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $150,000
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 Gross Jackpot Pool will be guaranteed for $150,000 on Friday’s program at Gulfstream Park, where the popular multi-race wager has gone unsolved in the three racing days following a mandatory payout on Pegasus World Cup Day.
The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10, including a well-stocked optional claiming allowance in Race 9. Trainer Todd Pletcher-trained debut winners American Icon, a son of Gun Runner who scored by 8 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Dec. 26, and Iron Works, a son of Distorted Humor who won by four lengths Jan. 8 at Gulfstream, are set for highly anticipated returns to action in the mile race for 3-year-olds.
In Race 6, a seven-furlong maiden special weight race for 4-year-olds up, Pletcher-trained Pigott, a $1.2 million yearling purchase, is slated to make his long-awaited debut.
The Rainbow 6 jackpot is paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
Who’s Hot: Luca Panici notched a double Thursday, winning aboard Mighty Tough ($6.80) in Race 1 and Senorita Salsa ($19.80) in Race 4…Junior Alvarado scored back-to-back victories aboard Earth ($20.80) in Race 5 and Giverny ($3.60) in Race 6.