Hotstufanthensome, untested at the Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT) distance of 1 3/8 miles, posted an 18-1 upset in track record time on the Gulfstream Park turf Sunday for substitute trainer Nathan Sinclair.
The 6-year-old Awesome Again
gelding, partnered by his regular rider Rajiv Maragh, rallied on the outside to collar Request for Parole just inside the eighth pole and held off Go Deputy and John Velazquez by one length. Hotstufanthensome won in a time of 2:10 4/5, three-fifths of second faster than the former record on the new turf course.
Sinclair picked up his first win of the Gulfstream meeting filling in for Norman Pointer, who has been ill. Running Horse Farm Inc. owns the Kentucky-bred bay. Hotstufanthensome notched his ninth win in 24 starts and improved his earnings to $447,220.
"Norman made it real easy," said Sinclair, who is Pointer's assistant. "He had this horse very happy. Norman is going to be on vacation for a little while. He's a longtime friend, and I've been working with him for two years. Norman said he's got a procedure to be done, and then (heart) bypass surgery. I asked him if he had a heart attack, and he said he took a stress test and shot craps."
Hotstufanthensome, whose last victory came by 14 1/2 lengths in the Cliffhanger (gr. IIIT) on a soft Meadowlands course Oct. 22, was still in sharp form. He just missed by a head to Mac Diarmida foe Honor in War while closing strongly in the Ft. Lauderdale Jan. 8. Hotstufanthensome now owns a 2-2-0 record in five starts on the Gulfstream grass.
Rumor Has It and Ramazutti set the table for Hotstufanthensome and the other closers in the 12-horse field, battling for the lead while pulling away from the pack with quick fractions of :24, :46 4/5 and 1:11 1/5. Request for Parole, tracking the early leaders in third, closed the gap quickly and reached the front on the third and final turn, showing the way into the stretch.
But Hotstufanthensome, racing in 10th for the first six furlongs, followed by Honor in War and Go Deputy, was closing in. Hotstufanthensome, rallying four wide into the stretch, grabbed the lead with a furlong left and finished with authority to hold off Go Deputy, who edged Honor in War and Shaun Bridgmohan by one-half length for the place spot. Request for Parole finished fourth.
"I had the best trip I could expect," Maragh said. "Today, we were in there against some very good horses, but they ran very fast the first part of it ... My horse got a clean trip, and that's why he won."
Silverfoot, the lukewarm 5-2 favorite ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was not a factor, closing mildly to finish fifth. Then came Everything to Gain, We Can Seek, Rousing Victory, Wood Be Willing, Ramazutti, Lune d'Or, and Rumor Has It.
Live Oak Stud bred the multiple graded stakes winning Hotstufanthensome, who paid $38.60, $18.40, and $10. Go Deputy, the third choice in the field for trainer Todd Pletcher, returned $8.20 and $5.60 and completed a $265 exacta. Honor in War, looking for his third straight win, was $6 to show. The $1 trifecta was $635.70 and the superfecta with Request for Parole paid $10,543.