APPLETON STAKES | PURSE: $100,000 |4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | GRADE 3 | ONE-MILE (TURF)
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Corporate Jungle, who has blossomed this winter at Gulfstream Park, captured the Grade 3, $100,000 Appleton Stakes on Saturday in his stakes debut, and now has his sights set on the best middle-distance grass horses in the nation, trainer Chad Brown said.
"He should be set up for a good year," Brown said following Corporate Jungle's one-length victory over Trend in the one-mile turf race. "We'll look at something like the Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby day. I'd like to stretch him out a little farther. And he'll be nominated for other races."
Corporate Jungle ($6), the favorite, was ridden by Javier Castellano and completed one mile on firm turf in 1:33.99. Monument Hill finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Trend. Beau Choix was fourth, and was followed, in order, by Brilliant Speed, Decisive Moment, Street Game, and El Commodore.
Brilliant Speed, making his first start since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Turf, never was in the hunt, and never really kicked it in after turning into the stretch. He was the second choice, also at 2-1.
Corporate Jungle, 4, won for the second straight time, and third time in his last four starts. He was coming off a victory in a first-level allowance here on Feb. 18.
"From the start, we thought he had stakes potential," said Brown, who trains Corporate Jungle for Gary and Mary West. "He just needed to mature.
"It's taken him a little while to come around. He's a nice horse. He had some minor physical problems, nothing major, just body-sore. Fortunately the Wests are great to train for. They let you give him time, not push. When we got to Florida, he turned the corner."