Sumaya Us Stable's Newfoundland, competing in Saturday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap when it was switched to the sloppy Gulfstream Park main track because of showers, scored the most significant victory of his career by a neck over favored Millennium Dragon.
Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, Newfoundland, entered for the main track only, wore down Millennium Dragon and jockey Richard Migliore in the home stretch, getting up just before the wire. The time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:44 4/5. Everything to Gain was 8 1/2 lengths farther back in third. The race was reduced to six by three scratches.
Newfoundland, a royally bred 4-year-old son of Storm Cat
–Clear Mandate (by Deputy Minister
) was a $3.3 million Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2001. Unable to reach his potential in England under the guidance of Aidan O'Brien, Newfoundland transferred to the United States in February, where he has enjoyed moderate success.
Saturday's win was the fifth in his past seven races, all on dirt and mostly against allowance opposition. He won the Coronado's Quest at Belmont in early October, but had not raced since a fifth-place showing in the muddy Discovery Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Oct. 29.
Saturday's win, his sixth in 14 career starts, was worth $60,000, improving his career bankroll to $213,784.
Newfoundland banged the starting gate and was last early before beginning to make an impact while stalking the pace from well off the rail. He challenged Millennium Dragon on the final turn and continued to pressure the leader down the stretch. He gradually inched even on the outside in deep stretch and managed to prevail as Millennium Dragon floated out in the closing yards.
Hard Buck grabbed the early lead through an opening quarter mile of :23 3/5, but struggeld in the off-going, eventually finishing fourth, nearly 14 lengths behind the winner. Millennium Dragon quickly took the lead from Hard Buck and set a moderate pace of :47 1/5 and 1:11 4/5, setting the stage for the stretch battle.
G. Watts Humphrey bred the winner in Kentucky.
The second choice, Newfoundland paid $7.40, $3.40 and $3. Millennium Dragon, who was coming off a gate-to-wire tally in the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Jan. 4, returned $3.40 and $3.20. Everything to Gain's show was $4. The $2 exacta was worth $23.20.
Justification was fifth, followed by Light Night. Remind, French Charmer and Steadfast and True scratched.