‘Last’ Shall Be First in Saturday’s 75k Sunshine Classic
Jan 16, 2021
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Michael Dubb, Steven Hornstock and Bethlehem Stables LLC and Nice Guys Stable’s Last Judgment registered his first career stakes victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a front-running 6 ½-length victory in the $75,000 Sunshine Classic.
The Sunshine Classic, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up, was featured among three other stakes for Florida-bred horses, including the Sunshine Sprint, the Sunshine Turf and the Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf. All four stakes offered a $25,000 win-only bonus for starters that are nominated to the Florida Sire Stakes program.
Michael Maker-trained Last Judgment, in his prior start Dec. 19, finished eighth in the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) – the 5-year-old gelded son of Congrats’ first start after being claimed $62,500 at Belmont Park.
“We knew he was a class horse. I followed this horse from the beginning of his career. When he was in for a tag in New York, I had two races in mind. I had this race and the Ocala races, which unfortunately were cancelled due to COVID, so at least we got this,” Dubb said. “He had previous form at Gulfstream, seemed like he liked the track, seemed versatile enough where anywhere from seven furlongs to a mile and an eighth would be in his wheelhouse. Mike Maker is excellent at stretching horses out, so it’s nice when it all goes according to plan.”
Last Judgment ($7.80) was hustled to the lead by jockey Jose Ortiz after an alert break from the gate and assumed pacesetting duties around the first turn and along the backstretch, closely stalked by Red Crescent and Kaufy Bean past fractions of 23.84 and 47.57 seconds for the first half mile. While defending champion and 8-5 favorite Noble Drama trailed the field, Last Judgment continued to show the way entering the turn into the homestretch. Noble Drama launched an outside move on the far turn under Emisael Jaramillo to enter contention at the top of the stretch, but Last Judgment kicked away to a comfortable victory.
“He was coming off sprints when he’s not able to be on the lead or near it. If he jumped well, I thought he could be near the lead because he’s been sprinting,” Ortiz said. “After that he got the lead, he relaxed well. Mike had him prepared.”
Noble Drama held off Roman Empire by a neck to finish second.
Last Judgment ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.76.
“The horse was doing fabulous. We were expecting a better run than he had in the Mr. Prospector. He was stepping up in class, ran into trouble and had a strong gallop-out,” Maker said. “I was under the impression that he would appreciate more distance.”