On a yielding turf course and in a paceless race, Cetewayo closed from far back to win Saturday's $200,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) by 3 1/4 lengths over favored Band Is Passing. The win marks the first for the 8-year-old son of His Majesty since taking the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) in November of 2000. That Red Smith win ended a graded stakes drought which began following Cetewayo's August 1998 win in the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT).
Under Cornelio Velasquez, Cetewayo dropped back early as Eltawaasul led through the opening quarter-mile, and remained in 10th place as Band Is Passing set parade-like fractions of :50.50 and 1:15.47. On the third turn, Cetewayo moved up on the inside, then ran down Band Is Passing in the stretch once moved into the clear on the outside, completing the 1 3/8 miles in 2:17.44.
Band Is Passing finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Profit Option, with Eltawaasul fourth. Unite's Big Red, Dawn of the Condor, Drama Critic, Monkey Puzzle, Lodge Hill, Revved Up, Riddlesdown, and Mr. Pleasentfar completed the order of finish.
Trained by top-notch layoff trainer Michael Dickinson, Cetewayo's most recent start prior to Saturday came in the 2001 renewal of the Red Smith, won by Mr. Pleasentfar. His other career stakes victories came in the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) and Sir Ivor Stakes in 1998, and the Riggs Handicap in 1999. Cetwayo –- by His Majesty and out of the Diesis mare Aletta Maria, giving him a 2x6 cross to Ribot -– was bred in Kentucky by his owner, Dr. John A. Chandler.
Sent off at just over 18-1, Cetewayo returned $38.60, $15.40, and $8.40. Band Is Passing paid $4.80 and $3.20. Profit Option returned $3.60 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $3.60. (Chart, Equibase