Gulfstream Park, 9th Race - Jan. 27, 2007
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Rafael Bejarano became the eighth jockey to ride Miss Shop. He might be the last. After working Miss Shop a few days before the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Bejarano came back with an enthusiastic report for trainer Allen Jerkens.
That confidence was rewarded on Saturday, when Miss Shop - ridden in a race for the first time by Bejarano - rallied to win the race by 1 1/4 lengths over Memorette, with Charmsil another half-length length back in third.
"He breezed her the other day and he loved her," Jerkens said in the winner's circle. "But you're always anxious coming off a race that's subpar."
Miss Shop ($13.40), now a winner of 8 of 18 lifetime and 4 of 7 on turf, most recently had finished sixth in the Frances Genter Stakes at Calder on Dec. 30. Jerkens theorized that the Calder grass was a bit too firm for Miss Shop, but not until she ran Saturday could he be certain.
The scratch of Howaboutrightnow left Bayou's Lassie as the lone speed in the race, and she was able to get away with comfortable fractions of 24.63 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.81 for a half-mile. The pace then picked up sharply, but Miss Shop was able to run down the leaders and complete 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.69.
Miss Shop, 4, is a Florida-bred filly by Deputy Minister who was bred and is owned by the Hobeau Farm of Jack Dreyfuss. She was third in a pair of Grade 1 dirt races last year - the Ruffian Handicap and the Coaching Club American Oaks.
Gulfstream Park, 8th Race - Jan. 27, 2007
F&M Sprint: Shaggy Mane runs off
Shaggy Mane, a former bottom-level claimer, ran her 12 rivals off their feet with a blinding display of speed en route to a sensational 7 3/4-length victory in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint.
Shaggy Mane, a 4-year-old daughter of Bertrando, won her maiden for an $8,000 price tag and was claimed for $12,500 at Santa Rosa by trainer Lloyd Mason. She was ultimately purchased privately by her current owners, the IEAH Stable and Sanford Robbins, following her fifth straight victory at Bay Meadows on Oct. 21. She prepped for the Sunshine Millions with a fifth-place finish in Hollywood Park's seven-furlong Cat's Cradle Handicap on Nov. 24.
"Michael Iavarone, who is the managing partner for IEAH, picked this horse out with the express purpose of running her in the Sunshine Millions," said trainer Don Chatlos Jr. "He told me to give her a prep and not worry if it's the wrong distance. Just have her ready for this race today."
And ready she was.
Shaggy Mane set the pace while being stalked by May Day Vow, defending champ Hot Storm, and Coli Bear through fractions of 21.66 seconds and 44.24. Turning for home, jockey Mark Guidry let out a notch and Shaggy Mane quickly pulled away, then steadily extended her advantage through the final furlong. Swap Fliparoo, the only Grade 1 winner in the field, rallied from near the rear of the pack to outfinish Hot Storm by a neck for second.
Shaggy Mane completed six furlongs in 1:09.31 and paid $19.40.
"I was worried, after watching the 2-year-olds hang up a 43-and-change half earlier in the day, that she might go too fast," said Chatlos. "Once they clicked 44 and a piece I knew it was over. She's unbeatable at that pace."
Gulfstream Park, 7th Race - Jan. 27, 2007
Dash: Storm in May jumps up late
Trainer Bill Kaplan knew the distance and surface might not be ideal for Storm in May in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash, but he decided to run anyway, hoping the pace would suit his late-running colt.
The pace was out of his control, and it ended up out of control. Storm in May benefited from a scalding early pace that sapped the front-runners, and he rallied for a 26-1 upset victory in the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds.
Storm in May ($55) flew down the center of the course under jockey Manny Cruz to beat Idiot Proof by 1 1/4 lengths, with Texas Voyager another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Idiot Proof and Texas Voyager were part of a three-way battle for the lead that produced fractions of 21.48 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 43.96 seconds for a half-mile. Storm in May completed six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:10.22.
"He liked this track, and he loved the fractions," said Kaplan, who owns Storm in May with Felicity Waugh and Teresa and David Palmer. "We can go either way now. He may end up on the Derby trail."
Storm in May had won three times in nine starts prior to Saturday, but his last three races all had been two-turn stakes on the turf at Calder.
"He likes to go longer," Kaplan said. "We were hoping for a super-fast pace, and we got it. He mowed 'em down down the stretch."
Idiot Proof, one of only two California-breds in the race, turned in a sensational performance for a horse who had run once, and not since June. He put away his pace rivals and appeared headed to victory until Storm in May ran him down.
- Additional reporting by Jay Privman