Distance No Problem for Kip Deville
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Kip Deville bests the Gulfstream Park Handicap field in his 2009 debut.
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Kip Deville set aside a question of his stamina capability for nine furlongs when he put away a quality field in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) (VIDEO) at the Hallandale Beach track Feb. 1. The result could land the Oklahoma-bred son of Kipling   in Dubai March 28 for the $5 million Duty Free (UAE-I).

A world-class miler trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., Kip Deville had only one prior start at the 1 1/8-mile distance on the grass, finishing off the board. But Dutrow expressed confidence beforehand that the 6-year-old gray could handle the additional furlong.

Fitted with blinkers again after racing without them in his last start -- a ninth-place finish in the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) Dec. 14 -- Kip Deville was ready to run from the start for jockey Cornelio Velasquez. He vied with 25-1 shot Pick Six in the opening quarter-mile and controlled the pace the rest of the way. The fractions on the firm grass course were perfect for the winner -- :24.22, :47.44 and 1:11.21. Kip Deville held a clear advantage over Pick Six on the final turn.

Coming into the stretch, stablemate Court Vision  , getting a perfect ground-saving trip as the 2-1 choice, angled out to challenge Kip Deville. But the favorite could not get to the winner, who was fully extended in the final sixteenth to hold sway in a sharp clocking of 1:45.70. Kip Deville prevailed by three-quarters of a length.

“‘Kip’ is naturally fast," Dutrow said. "If any other horse went out there (for lead), Cornelio would have let him go, but there was no other speed. Cornelio gave him a great ride. Naturally I was little concerned when some of those horse made there move, but he went right on.

"We’ll see how the Dubai race shapes up. If he looks good in there, we’d just about have to go for that money. If not, we’ll go back to Keeneland for the grade I there (Maker’s Mark), which he’s won twice before. He had to win today, but he’s earned himself a trip to Dubai."

The Dubai Duty Free is at 1 1/8 miles.

Just as Well, a 24-1 shot ridden by Julien Leparoux, rallied from last on the far turn to nip Court Vision and Ramon Dominguez by a head for second.

Sent off as the second choice, Kip Deville, winner of the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), paid $7, $5.20 and $3.20 for the win. It was the 12th win in 27 starts for Kip Deville, who boosted his earnings to $3,319,614. Kip Deville is owned by IEAH Stables and partners John and Andrew Cohen, Steve Cobb and Doug Robertson. Center Hills Farm bred him from the Encino mare Klondike Kaytie.

Jonathan Sheppard's Just as Well made a huge jump into grade I company and did well, saving ground while unhurried at the rear of the pack and using a big kick to gain the place spot. Just as Well returned $17 and $6.80 while completing a $2 exacta worth $126.60.

Court Vision, in his first start since winning the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 30, had every opportunity but did not produce the big finish he showed in his last start. Court Vision was worth $3 to show.

Kiss the Kid edged Sligovitz for fourth. They were followed by Pick Six, Summer Patriot, Red Rocks and Uigur. Phil the Power was entered for the main track only.

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