SKIP AWAY STAKES | PURSE: $100,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 3 | 1 3/16 MILE
Cigar Street edged clear of Take Charge Indy late to win the Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park on the Florida Derby undercard by two lengths. The runner-up won last year's Florida Derby.
Sent off the 9-5 favorite in a field of nine (Flatter This was scratched), Cigar Street is owned by Miami Heat player Rashard Lewis and Jake Ballis and is trained by Bill Mott. Mott was in Dubai for the World Cup program.
The winner is a striking 4-year-old dark bay or brown colt by Street Sense out of the Deputy Minister mare Arcadiana and was bred in Kentucky by Marvin Delfiner, Ted Folkerth and Brookdale. Cigar Street was a $130,000 Keeneland April sale 2-year-old in 2011. Consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent, he was signed for by Hidden Brook Farm, agent.
Take Charge Indy got the lead from three other rivals as the field went around the first bend. Tracked by Pants On Fire, Take Charge Indy set sensible splits of :23.92, :48.71, and 1:12.37 in the 1 3/16-mile race. Cigar Street, ridden by John Velazquez, was right off the leaders while three wide with Eldaafer giving chase along the rail. As the field went around the final turn it became a three horse race as Cigar Street engaged the top to and they were three abreast turning for home.
After a mile in 1:36.93, Pants On Fire was tiring between the two as Take Charge Indy battled with Cigar Street down the stretch. The final time was 1:56.84. It was 6 ¾ lengths back to Pants On Fire in third, who was followed by Golden Ticket, Eldaafer, Al Qasr, Gourmet Dinner, Where's the Baby, and O'Prado Again.
The win was the fourth on the day for Velazquez.
The winner paid $5.60, $3.40, and $2.60. Take Charge Indy paid $3.80 and $3. Pants On Fire paid $3.80 to show. The 9-8 exacta paid $21 and the $1 trifecta of 9-8-10 returned $15.75.
Cigar Street is now a perfect three-for-three at Gulfstream after scoring his first black-type victory. He won back-to-back allowance/optional claiming races Dec. 27 and Feb. 17. Earlier in his career he was trained by Steve Margolis and broke his maiden at Fair Grounds March 10, 2012 by 13 3/4 lengths and then ran fourth, beaten just two lengths, in the Louisiana Derby.
He now has a 4-0-0 slate from six starts and has earned $182,138.