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Venezuelan Hug Drives to Sunshine Turf Victory

Jan 16, 2021
Bienville Street Wins Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Spedale Family Racing LLC and R.A. Hill Stable’s Venezuelan Hug, the 5-2 favorite under jockey Luis Saez, moved four-wide entering the stretch before driving past the leaders to win the $75,000 Sunshine Turf over Shamrocket Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

A 4-year-old colt by Florida Derby (G1) winner Constitution, Venezuelan Hug covered a firm 1 1 /16 mile in 1:40.02. It was the colt’s fifth victory in nine starts. He previously won the Sunshine Turf Preview Nov. 21 at Gulfstream West and last summer an allowance race at Saratoga. Venezuelan Hug was claimed for $40,000 at Gulfstream last March.

“He’s tough,” said trainer Danny Gargan. “We’re happy to have him. My assistant Carol Fisher picked him out when we claimed him. He’s a pretty fun horse.”

It was Proven Strategies who broke on top in the Sunshine Turf and the Toronto Cup winner posted some fast fractions of :22.65, :45.85 and 1:09.83 while Saez rated Venezuelan Hug fifth. Saez moved Venezuelan Hug four wide around the turn and drove past his eight opponents.

Bienville Street Wins Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf

CJ Thoroughbreds LLC’s Bienville Street, trained by Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Cam Gambolati, drove to the lead down the stretch under jockey Paco Lopez to win the $75,000 Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf by a neck. Mo of the West finished second, a neck in front of Sun Summers, who finished a neck in front of Lovely Luvy.

A 6-year-old mare by Street Boss, Bienville Street got position from the 9 post going into the first turn of the 1 1/16 mile turf event and raced fourth while Sugar Fix set fractions of :24.19, :48.20 and 1:12.10 while being pressed by Mo of the West. Entering the stretch, Lopez guided Bienville Street three-wide and took aim on the leaders, driving past them inside the final eighth.  Bienville Street covered the distance in 1:41.50.

It was Bienville Street’s fifth win in 32 starts and second consecutive win since being equipped with blinkers by Gambolati, who saddled 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck.

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