First Blush Sparkles in Spectacular Bid

First Blush Sparkles in Spectacular Bid
Photo: AP/Equi-Photo
First Blush, right, edges out Crafty Guy to win the Spectacular Bid on opening day at Gulfstream Park.
Irving and Marjorie Cowan's First Blush, with Jorge Chavez riding, stormed from out of the pack to win Friday's $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on opening day at Gulfstream Park.

The Kentucky homebred defeated Crafty Guy by a half-length, with Silver Squire a fast-closing third, another length behind. The final time for the six furlongs on a fast track was 1:1:10 4/5.

Crafty Guy, with Jose Santos aboard, engaged longshot Paris Adventure through quick early splits of :21.72 for the quarter-mile and :44.86 for the half before taking the lead in the stretch. But Chavez and First Blush, who had settled in fourth, a couple of lengths off the leaders for most of the trip, accelerated with a rush to seize control in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Super Fuse, winner of three straight, was the slight 2-1 favorite over Silver Squire in the field of nine. The son of Lite The Fuse was far back down the backstretch, moved into contention in the stretch with jockey Carlos Gonzalez, but could not go with the winner. He finished fifth.

H. Allen Jerkens trains First Blush, who carried 116 pounds. First Blush was third behind the winning Super Fuse in the Huntington Stakes on a sloppy track at Aqueduct Nov. 17.

First Blush is a son of French Deputy who made five starts as a 2-year-old, winning once before. His victory Friday raised his earnings to $116,772.

Sent off at 11-1, First Blush paid $25.80, $10.20 and $4.80. Crafty Guy returned $5.40 and $3.60. Silver Squire paid $3.40. Coach Jimi Lee was fourth. The 2 exacta was $127.20.

(Chart, Equibase)

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