Trained by Catherine Day-Phillips and ridden by Javier Castellano, the 17-10 favorite Jambalaya rated well off the early pace in the 12-furlong Pan American and rallied for a half-length victory over Hotstufanthensome.
Fri Guy finished another 2 3/4 lengths back in third after setting the pace (:24 2/5, :49 2/5, 1:14 1/5) in the field of 11 older horses. The winning time was 2:24.98 over the firm going.
Jambalaya angled four wide coming off the final turn, reached the leaders mid-stretch and kept churning to hold off the strong-finishing Hotstufanthensome, ridden by Rajiv Maragh.
"I had a beautiful trip today," Castellano said. "I had the inside advantage with the post position and was able to stay on the rail and save ground. All I had to do was swing around when it was time. I had plenty of horse because I was able to stay off of the pace. He had a lot left today.”
A son of Langfuhr , Jambalaya is based most of the year in Canada at Woodbine and been a leader in the turf stakes division there for the last couple of seasons. He captured the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at 11 furlongs in his last start Feb. 24 when teamed with Castellano for the first time. He recorded his seventh win in 18 starts Saturday while increasing his bankroll to $889,793.
"It’s obvious he gets along beautifully with Javier," said Day-Phillips. "He’ll run on just about any type of turf, but we just had some ridiculously soft turf last year in Canada. He loves it down here and thrives. We’ll take him back to Ocala and then back to Canada.”
Jambalaya paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.60. Hotstufanthensome, coming off a victory in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup, has placed in four of his last five starts for trainer Norman Pointer. He returned $5 and $4.20. Fri Guy, ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza, was $9.20 to show.
Ramazutti finished fourth, followed by Drilling for Oil, Interpatation, Revved Up, Lima Papa, Dynantonia, A.J. Melini and Murch. Pellegrino scratched.