PALM BEACH STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8 MILES (TURF)
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Howe Great took another step towards following in the footsteps of stablemate and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom by registering a very professional one-length victory over fellow Derby prospect Dullahan in Sunday's $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Grade 3 Palm Beach was the fourth win in a row for Howe Great, a son of Hat Trick who captured the Kitten's Joy seven weeks ago. He is undefeated in three starts on grass but won his maiden on dirt last fall at Parx.
Although Howe Great has been on the lead in each of his two previous turf wins, jockey John Velazquez rated him just off the pace of Scorcher during the early stages of the Palm Beach. Howe Great saved ground while stalking the leader for six furlongs, took control along the rail approaching the stretch, edged clear, and then maintained a safe advantage over Dullahan. Dullahan circled five wide entering the stretch and finished with good energy to be second in his first start since the Breeders' Cup.
Csaba held on to be third despite bumping with Coalport at the break.
Howe Great paid $3.40 after completing one mile in 1:46.56 over a firm course.
"He's a very classy, straightforward horse who hasn't done much wrong since we've had him," said trainer Graham Motion. "The more he races, the more he's relaxed. He's very tractable and doesn't need the lead, even though he's been in front in his last two races. Johnny rode him confidently and looked like he had a lot of horse at the top of the stretch."
Motion said the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland would be next for Howe Great.
"The Blue Grass would be the logical spot to go and then we'll take it from there," said Motion."