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Captain D Takes Charge in 75k Juvenile Turf

Nov 9, 2019
American Giant, Ceci Valentina, As Seen On Tv Win Juvenile Stakes
Picara Defends Filly & Mare Turf with 25-1 Upset

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Although bettors clearly expected Captain D to dominate his competition in the $75,000 Juvenile Turf, the 1-2 favorite continued to be a pleasant surprise for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. Saturday at Gulfstream Park West.

“This horse has been a big surprise. If you told me before this horse ran that he would be doing this I wouldn’t have believed it,” Joseph said.

The mile turf stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-olds was one of nine stakes worth $675,000 in purses on the Sunshine Millions Preview card.

Don and Rebecca Ming’s Captain D is by Gary D, a son of Successful Appeal who won three of 21 career starts, including a victory in the 2010 OBS Sprint.

“Gary D is a horse the Mings raced. They just kept him and put him on a couple mares,” said Joseph, who also trains a stakes-winning 3-year-old daughter of Gary D, Midtown Rose. “For me, I like Gary D.”

Captain D broke alertly to gain good stalking position behind pacesetter Plato, who set fractions of 24.50 and 49.72 seconds for the first half-mile while pressed by Genghis. Ridden by Edgard Zayas, Captain D made a strong move around the far turn to take the lead turning for home and continued on to win by 5 ¼ lengths. Rebelde finished second under Jose Batista, two lengths ahead of Genghis.

Captain D, who ran a mile over a firm turf course in 1:37.96, broke his maiden at first asking Aug. 3 in a $50,000 maiden claiming race over a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park. The homebred gelding went on to finish second in the Proud Man Stakes and third in the Armed Forces Stakes last time out. Both stakes were won by Graceful Kitten, who set the pace into mid-stretch in last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.

“From Day 1 he has had a lot of try. He showed good form behind the horse that went to the Breeders’ Cup, Graceful Kitten,” Joseph said. “Last time, he wasn’t as good as possible going into the race because he missed a breeze. This race, he had perfect preparation. He ran the way we expected.”

Live Oak Plantation’s homebred American Giant powered down the center of the stretch and held off a late bid from Mike Trombetta-trained stablemate Our Little Jewel along the hedge to capture the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf by two lengths.

American Giant improved to 3-0 on the grass for her career with her first stakes victory and third of the afternoon for jockey Samy Camacho, who previously won the $75,000 Millions Distaff on Wildwood’s Beauty and $75,000 Millions Classic Preview aboard Red Crescent.

The winning time was 1:37.03 over a firm course. Narrow 2-1 favorite Our Little Jewel was second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Song River.

Amalio Ruiz-Lozano’s homebred Ceci Valentina, floated wide at the top of the stretch, came with a steady run through the lane to reel in Mandamus and edge clear for a 2 ¼-length victory in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Sprint.

With Marcos Meneses aboard for trainer Angel Rodriguez, Ceci Valentina ($9.20) ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:18.02 for her third win in four starts and second in a stakes, following the seven-furlong FSS Susan’s Girl Aug. 31 at Gulfstream.

Mandamus was a clear second, with Go Gator Girl Go third and 5-2 favorite Ms Big Spring fourth.

Screen Door Stables’ As Seen On Tv wrapped up Saturday’s stakes action with a popular victory in the $75,000 Juvenile Sprint, stalking pacesetter Smash Factor from the gate to the top of the stretch before pulling away late.

As Seen On Tv ($4.60), favored at 6-5, gave jockey Paco Lopez his fourth win on the card and third in a stakes following Galleon Mast in the $75,000 Turf and Travy Boy in the $75,000 Sprint.

Second in the Smoke Glacken Stakes Sept. 21 at Monmouth Park last time out, As Seen On Tv pressed Smash Factor through splits of 22.46 and 45.35 seconds, took over the top spot after six furlongs in 1:09.71 and edged clear to win in 1:16.36 for 6 ½ furlongs. Smash Factor held second, with Poe third.

Picara Defends Filly & Mare Turf Preview with 25-1 Upset

P & G Stables’ Picara saved ground in the early going, found room along the hedge once straightened for home and outfinished her nine rivals to the wire for a second straight victory in the $75,000 Filly & Mare Turf Preview.

Sent off at odds of 25-1 for trainer Jorge Delgado and jockey Rajiv Maragh, Picara ($58.60) completed 7 ½ furlongs in 1:29.66 and improved her record over Gulfstream West’s turf course to four wins from five starts.

Unlike last year, when she led most of the way in a 1 ¾-length triumph for previous trainer Todd Pletcher, PIcara settled in mid-pack under Maragh as 6-5 favorite Daddy’s Boo took the field through a quarter in 23.37 seconds and a half in 46.55.

Maragh bided his time and sent Picara through an opening at the top of the stretch, holding off a late rallies from runner-up Una Luna and Souper Escape, who finished third. Daddy’s Boo, a career 17-time winner, wound up seventh.

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