Joseph saddles three winners across two main racetracks in Florida
HALLANDALE BEACH, Florida (CMC) – Ace Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr had a day to remember on Saturday, logging three wins at the two main racetracks in the American state of Florida.
The 36-year-old saddled the winner of the US $125,000 co-feature Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs while he fortified his hold on first place in the trainers’ standings at Gulfstream Park with a double win on the 11-race card.
Joseph prepared the 4-5 favourite Mystic Lake that won the Gasparilla by three quarters of a length under stable jockey Edgard Zayas going seven furlongs on the dirt.
The Gasparilla was one of three stakes races on a Skyway Festival day card held under partly cloudy skies, with strong winds that made it feel a bit colder than 13 degrees Celsius.
Mystic Lake seized the early advantage and never relinquished her lead in the race for sophomore fillies to hand Joseph his fourth win of the season at the track.
The dark bay filly ran to her odds, blasting out fractions of 22.98 seconds and 46.23, digging in turning for home, and outlasting a late charge from Gorgeous Girl, under Samy Camacho, under the wire to clock one minute 24.69 seconds.
Joseph said Mystic Lake‘s career debut last August at Gulfstream Park was a mystery as she was never in contention after training well leading to the race.
He added her form turned around on the synthetic surface at the Woodbine racetrack in Canada, with a maiden victory, a second in the Glorious Song Stakes and a third in the Mazarine Stakes.
“We’ve thought a lot of her all along, and we figured that first start just wasn’t her day,” he said. “She’s very honest, and this shows she can get seven furlongs. I’ll talk it over with Mark [Cornett, one of the owners] and come up with a game plan from here. I think she’ll go turf, too.”
Joseph, who has won the trainers’ title for the past nine racing seasons at Gulfstream Park, Florida’s main racing oval, now has 20 wins for the winter-spring meet that started on December 1 last year and ends on March 31 this year. He is eight clear of his nearest rival, Brian Lynch.
Joseph conditioned the 3-5 favourite Admiral Hopper that won the US $31 000 fourth race by 3 1/2 lengths under Tyler Gaffalione going five furlongs on the all-weather track.
Admiral Hopper took an early lead and set a clear pace in the two path. The five-year-old chestnut mare widened while being ridden out to finish in a time of 55.74 seconds, a mere 69 hundredths-of-a-second off the track record, which was set last year by Hope in Him.
Joseph also saddled the 10-1 outsider Abrumar that won the US$91,000 eighth race by one length under Paco Lopez going 1,700 metres on the turf track.
Abrumar disputed the pace two and three wide while under a rating hold before Lopez edged the two-year-old bay colt clear in the final furlong for a time of one minute 41.28 seconds.