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Girolamo’s Attack Surprises in Miami Beach Handicap

Oct 23, 2021
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – John Fanelli, LC Racing and Paul Braverman’s Girolamo’s Attack capped a good day for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. while registering an upset victory in Saturday’s $60,000 Miami Beach Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

The Miami Beach, a mile overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up, closed out the stakes action on Saturday’s 10-race program that also featured the $60,000 Journeyman Stud Juvenile, a mile-and-70-yard race for Florida-bred 2-year-olds on Tapeta, and the $60,000 Khozan Juvenile Fillies Sprint, a six-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-old fillies.

A couple hours after Joseph was represented in the Belmont Park winner’s circle by Shifty She following her victory in the Noble Damsel (G3), Girolamo pulled off an upset in the Miami Beach that caught his trainer by surprise.

“I’m surprised to be honest with you,” Joseph said. “I know he wants to do this (one-turn mile), his race at Belmont (one-turn 1 1/16-mile) was really good. He doesn’t want seven-eighths. Today was a tough race. I didn’t think he could win. I thought if he ran his best race, he could be pretty close. Then, he acted up in the race, and I said “Aww, everything is done.’”

A showdown between graded-stakes winners Eye of a Jedi and King Guillermo had been expected by the bettors but it never developed between the two 5-2 betting chances. King Guillermo broke alertly to press the pace set by Quenane but weakened on the turn into the homestretch, while Eye of a Jedi raced in traffic and was never a factor.

Girolamo’s Attack, who finished off the board in two sprints at Saratoga in his last two starts, stalked the pace while racing three-wide into the stretch before taking command in mid-stretch. Glory of Florida, a 20-1 long shot ridden by Miguel Vasquez, made a serious late bid, but Girolamo’s Attack responded to the urging from Edgard Zayas to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

“At the quarter-pole it looked like he was going to win pretty easy, but at the sixteenth-pole it looked like he was going to get beat,” Joseph said. “That horse was coming at him, but that was where Edgard made the difference. He got him to engage and find a little bit more.”

Girolamo’s Attack ran a mile in 1:35.95 in his return to Gulfstream, where he last won an optional claiming allowance before shipping to New York.

Glory of Florida finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Pro Quality. King Guillermo finished fourth. Eye of a Jedi finished seventh.

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