Ridden by Javier Castellano, the grade I-winning Swap Fliparoo sent even-money choice Oonagh Maccool to defeat. Stuck on the inside coming out of the gate in her first start since July 30, the Irish-bred Oonagh Maccool was under pressure from two rivals on the front end into the stretch before she tired and finished off the board in fifth.
“We knew she was up against it when she drew the one post, which doesn’t give you much choice except to go, and those horses kept her pinned in there from the start," said Anthony Sciametta, Jr., assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.
A 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate --Fliparoo (Buckaroo), Swap Fliparoo completed the one-turn mile in 1:37 3/5 while winning by 6 1/4 lengths.
Getcozywithkaylee, who raced just off the leaders Oonagh Maccool and Sugar Swirl through fractions of :23 3/5, :46 2/5 and 1:11 1/5, held second after taking the lead from the favorite in upper stretch. Classy Charm finished third, a head behind the runner-up.
Swap Fliparoo, who carried 115 pounds, stalked the pace in fifth for the first-half mile, angling out on the turn and challenging four wide in the stretch.
“It was a like a dream trip," Castellano said. "(Oonagh Maccool) and Sugar Swirl showed speed and set it up perfectly for me. I was plenty confident at the quarter pole.”
Swap Fliparoo, who last visited the winner's circle after capturing the Test (gr. I) at Saratoga in August, returned to action after a break of nearly three months Jan. 27 when she ran a distant second to Shaggy Mane in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Spring at six furlongs. She ended a four-race losing streak while winning at Gulfstream for the first time in four tries. Trained by Allen Jerkens, the late-running gray filly improved her career record to 5-9-2 in 21 starts with earnings of $573,903.
“She rated kindly and I wasn’t too concerned if she would rate like that," Jerkens said. "She had a nice easy breeze the other day where she didn’t try to run off, so now I’d like try her in the Rampart (gr. II)
The $200,00 Rampart at nine furlongs is on Mar. 11.
"The only thing is that a mile-and-an-eighth race there might not be enough pace," Jerkens said. "She’s used to some wicked pace in front of her. She hadn’t been able to make a dent in her last race (Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint) and her last two sprints before that she wasn’t able to catch up.”
Sent off as the second choice, she paid $7.40, $4.20 and $3.20. Getcozywithkaylee, ridden by Chris DeCarlo, returned $7.20 and $5.20. Classy Charm, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, was $5 to show.
Sugar Swirl finished fourth, followed by Oonagh Maccool, Toll Taker, Grecian Lover and Leona's Knight.
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