Buddy's Humor caught the pacesetter Presious Passion at the top of the stretch and prevailed following a long drive to the wire by three-quarters of a length in the $147,000 Pan American Stakes (VIDEO) at rain-soaked Gulfstream Park. The race was taken off the turf course as a result of day-long showers and contested on a sealed main track.
As a result of the transfer, the Pan American was shortened from 12 furlongs to 10 and the race loses its grade III status pending a final decision of the American Graded Stakes Committee. The field was reduced to five by the scratches of Spice Route and Nergal.
Jose Lezcano rode Buddy's Humor, a 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor , to victory for owner Eli Lomita and trainer Bruce Levine.
“We talked it over before the race and didn’t hesitate to go ahead and run when the race came off the turf," Levine said by phone from New York after collecting his first win of the Gulfstream meet. "We were planning on going back to dirt with him later this year anyway. I always thought distance would be no problem for him."
Presious Passion had things his way with Elvis Trujillo in the saddle, carving fractions of :23:35, :47:36, and 1:12:20 while building a lead of as much as four lengths in the opening six furlongs. Buddy's Humor, stalking in second all the way, got the advantage a little early after bidding on the turn. Lezcano had the bay horse under a full drive through the lane to win over an always-game Presious Passion, who stumbled at the start before being hustled to the lead.
“The conditions obviously were difficult and the surface was tough," Lezcano said." I knew (Presious Passion) was the speed horse so I let them go to the front and just stalked him before I asked mine for a little something. It was around the three-eighths (pole) that we really turned it on. I felt good making the turn because I felt we were getting stronger.”
It was 5 1/2 lengths back to the favorite, 17-10 choice Sligovitz, who finished third under John Velazquez. South Handyman and Quasicobra completed the field.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Buddy's Humor returned $11.60, $5.40, and $3. The millionaire Presious Passion, who won the Pan American last year on the grass, returned $3.60 and $2.20. Sligovitz was $2.60 to show. The final time on the sloppy track was 2:02.64.
Bred in Kentucky by John C. Oxley, Buddy's Humor improved his record to 5-4-2 in 15 starts while boosting his earnings to $358,648 with the winner's purse of $60,000. Out of the Dehere mare Hello Barbara Sue, the winner was coming off a second-place finish in the one-mile Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) after setting the pace on the Gulfstream lawn Feb. 28. The Pan American was his third stakes win.