(Coglianese Photography photos of Tyler Gaffalione riding Kentucky Downs allowance winner Tide of the Sea to his first stakes victory in Gulfstream Park's McKnight.)
Hallandale Beach, FL -- Trainer Mike Maker continued his domination of the $150,000, Grade 3 W.L. McKnight at Gulfstream Park Saturday, winning for the fourth time in five years with the 1-2 finish of Tide of the Sea and Temple. The margin was three-quarters of a length.
Tide of the Sea, taking an allowance race, was among the Kentucky Downs victories that launched Maker to his fifth meet title and owner Three Diamonds Farm to its first owners crown at the track. The McKnight was Temple’s fourth straight runner-up performance since finishing sixth in Kentucky Downs’ Tapit Stakes.
Maker started his run of success in the 1 1/2-mile McKnight with Taghleeb in 2017 and followed with victories by Oscar Nominated in 2018 and Zulu Alpha in 2019. Last year, Spooky Channel narrowly ended the winning streak, prevailing by a neck over Maker’s Cross Border (who finished third in Saturday's $1 million, Grade 1 Pegasus Turf). All of Maker's previous McKnight winners went on to run in Kentucky Downs' signature Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, with Zulu Alpha winning the 2019 race and finishing third in 2020.
Under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Tide of the Sea led from gate to wire and stopped the timer in 2:24.57, giving Gaffalione his fourth win of the program. The 5-year-old son of English Channel earned his first stakes victory of any kind. Sent off at 4-1 in the wagering, Tide of the Sea paid $10 to win.
“His best races were in front when he gets loose comfortably,” Gaffalione said. “He traveled great throughout and I just let him do his own thing. He finished up really well when the horse (Temple) came up and challenged him. All credit goes to Mike and his team.”
Wagering favorite Doswell, whose run in the stretch was compromised when he had to check near the eighth pole, finished third.