Overnight Stakes Win Puts Third Day on Triple Crown Trail Sophomore Colt Ends Layoff Winning $60,000 Just One More
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Town and Country Racing and Spendthrift Farm’s Third Day put himself on the Triple Crown trail with a neck victory over Barry Karafin Bets in Wednesday’s $60,000 Just One More overnight stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Third Day, ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, ran one mile in 1:36.96 over fast main track in just his second start and first in six months since breaking his maiden last summer at Monmouth Park.
“The horse had been training very well. He showed a lot of promise in his debut and he needed a little time after that,” Pletcher said. “We were optimistic being a son of Bernardini and out of a Street Cry mare that the distance would be OK for him.
“We were just hoping we had him tight enough to go a mile off the layoff and I thought he handled that part of it well,” he added. “He’s still learning and still a little green, but considering the layoff and the stretch out in distance I thought it was very encouraging.”
Velazquez settled Third Day ($4.20), the even-money favorite in a field of five 3-year-olds, in fourth to the inside of Barry Karafin Bets as 13-1 long shot Woodrow ran an opening quarter-mile in 24.70 seconds. Barry Karafin Bets took over the top spot after a half in 47.37 while Velazquez swung outside to launch his bid.
Barry Karafin Bets was still in front as they straightened for home but Third Day, racing to his outside, steadily gained on the leader before edging away near the wire. Basha, runner-up in the Smooth Air Stakes Dec. 10 at Gulfstream, finished third.
“He settled in the pocket and Johnny thought he had him kind of in the perfect spot,” Pletcher said. “He said he kind of came off the bridle a little bit and was looking at horses and then got up to the leader and eyeballed him a little. He just needs some more experience but that’s part of what today was all about.”
Next up for Third Day, purchased for $575,000 as a 2-year-old in training last March, is a shot in a two-turn Triple Crown prep, Pletcher said. Gulfstream hosts the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at 1 1/16 miles March 4 and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles April 1.
“He’ll come back in one of those stakes, we just don’t know which one,” he said. “There’s a lot of options this time of year. I think he’s a colt where we can look at those kind of possibilities.”
Guaranteed Pools in Pick 4, Pick 5, Rainbow 6 for Saturday Feb. 11
In addition to offering a trio of graded stakes worth $850,000 in purses led by the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), Gulfstream’s Saturday Feb. 11 program will feature guaranteed pools in three multi-race wagers.
The $1 Late Pick 4 will be guaranteed at $300,000, while the 50-cent Late Pick 5 – which offers an industry-low 12 percent takeout – will carry a $250,000 guarantee and the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will be guaranteed at $200,000.
Also part of Saturday’s program are the $350,000 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) at one mile on dirt and the $150,000 Suwannee River (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
First race post time Saturday is noon.
Who’s Hot: Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2015, won back-to-back races with Vintners Special ($7) in the fifth and Rosebud’s High ($5.80) in the sixth.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $10,770.59