Darpat S.L. Stable’s 5-year-old Istan went to the front at the start of Saturday’s $100,000 Artax Handicap for older horses at Gulfstream Park and went all the way to score by 2 1/2 lengths over Paradise Dancer.
A Gone West horse trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Manoel Cruz, Istan was co-second choice in the field of six older horses while turning back in distance from a victory in the Budweiser Challenge at Tampa Bay Downs in his last start on March 10. Istan has won six of his 14 career starts while boosting his earnings to $180,463 with his first graded stakes win.
B.B. Best checked in third, a nose behind the runner-up and 2 1/2 lengths ahead of 1-2 favorite Park Avenue Ball. The winning time for the 7 1/2-furlong event was 1:28:08 over the fast track.
Early fractions were :23 1/5 and :45 4/5.
Istan paid $9.40, $4.40 and $6. Paradise Dancer, making his seasonal debut for Ralph Ziadie, returned $4.80 and $7.40. B.B. Best was $10.60 to show.
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