(Photo by Coglianese Photography)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Michael Hui’s Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner Hogy, a durable 9-year-old millionaire gelding, surged away from seven younger rivals through the stretch to capture the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 52nd running of the Canadian Turf, a mile turf race for older horses, was one of nine stakes (eight graded) worth $1 .5 million in purses on a 14-race program headlined by the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2).
A multiple stakes winner at sprint distances, Hogy successfully stretched out around two turns Saturday to register his 19th career victory by 3 ¾ lengths while giving jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. his fourth victory of the afternoon.
“It was great,” said trainer Mike Maker, Kentucky Downs’ all-time win leader and three-time defending meet titlist. “There was a strong pace up front and Irad saved all the ground, tipped him out, and he came roaring home. At his age, to get his 19th win in 50 starts, it’s just incredible. I kept asking [owner] Mike [Hui], ‘I’d sure like to stretch him out.’ There was really no sprint and the five-eighths wasn’t ideal for him last time here so we wanted to give it a shot.”
It was a big 20-minute stretch for Maker, who finished 1-2 in the Barbados Gold Cup with Kentucky Downs' Old Friends winner Sir Dudley Digges and Shining Copper. Both horses are owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Kentucky Downs' all-time winningest owners.
Hogy ($13) rated kindly behind a hotly contested pace set by Conquest Sandman and pressed by Blind Ambition. The son of Offlee Wild saved ground before slipping to the outside at the top of the stretch and drawing away powerfully to win impressively. Galleon Mast, the 5-2 favorite ridden by Luis Saez, rallied to finish second after encountering traffic at the top of the stretch, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of March and jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said his brother, Jose, told him how to ride Hogy.
“Jose rode him before and he told me he wants to relax. He’s an older horse and he knows what he’s doing. I just wanted to let him break and he’ll relax, and he did. At the three-eighths pole he was picking it up on his own. He knows what he’s doing, and he came running.”
A winner of the Sept. 9 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) after being claimed for $80,000 out of his previous start at Saratoga, Hogy ran a mile over a firm turf in 1:35.28.
Maker and Hui both have said they hope to run Hogy back at Kentucky Downs this September, where he’d have the option of defending his victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint or running in the Tourist Mile, both worth $400,000 last year.
Kentucky Downs-raced horses finished second, third and fourth in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida, with favored Sadler's Joy rallying from last to nip front-running One Go All Go. Nessy was third and Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup winner Oscar Nominated finished fourth.