East Hall leaves Wildcat Red behind in the Millions Classic Preview.<br><a target="blank" href="http://photos.bloodhorse.com/AtTheRaces-1/At-the-Races-2014/i-zS2Xk2P">Order This Photo</a>

East Hall leaves Wildcat Red behind in the Millions Classic Preview.
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Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

East Hall Tops Wildcat Red at Gulfstream West

Improving son of Graeme Hall wins for third time in past four tries for Bill Kaplan.

Improving East Hall turned the tables on nemesis Wildcat Red  when he came from off the pace to score in the $100,000 Millions Classic Preview Nov. 8 at Gulfstream Park West, the featured event on a seven-stakes card (VIDEO).

East Hall had lost to Wildcat Red four times in South Florida this year. But under energetic handling by Luis Saez, the 3-year-old son of Graeme Hall had the measure of the 6-5 favorite to win by two lengths at the former Calder Race Course.

Winner of the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II) in his most recent start Oct. 4, East Hall has captured three of his past four outings for trainer Bill Kaplan and owners H. Jack Hendricks and Roger Justice. The chestnut gelding took the listed Ohio Derby in July.

Mary K. Haire bred East Hall in Florida out of Sultry Song mare East Long Lake.

Stalking in second, Wildcat Red opened a clear advantage in the stretch after sweeping past pacesetter I'm Steppin' It Up, but weakened in the final furlong. The Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner held onto second by a head over Schivarelli, with I'm Steppin It Up fourth in the field of seven.

East Hall, like Wildcat Red, was facing older horses for the first time. He was timed in 1:46.99 for the 1 1/16-mile distance over a fast track.

"I think he's improved all the way through the year," Kaplan said. "He's had a couple of bad races, mainly because of post position and being hung out and getting in trouble. Every race he's been in the clear in the stretch, he runs down anybody."

Sent off as the third choice, East Hall was toward the rear of the pack for Saez while I'm Steppin' It Up led through a quarter mile in :23.51 and a half in :47.33, before Wildcat Red took over for Edgar Prado after completing six furlongs in 1:12.48.

"This horse is in tremendous condition. It doesn't matter where you put him, he'll run hard all day long," Kaplan said of the winner. "The pace was fast and he was hung out there, so (Saez) backed off on him and he was driving on him from the three-eighths pole. The horse has a tremendous cardiovascular system. He's a really nice horse."

East Hall carried 120 pounds and paid $6.80, $3, and $2.20. He topped a $15.60 exacta with Wildcat Red, who returned $2.80 and $2.10. Second choice Schivarelli, also sent off at 2-1, paid $2.20 to show. I'm Steppin' It Up was followed by Undeniable Temper, Sr. Quisqueyano, and Megamove.

The Classic was one of seven $100,000 stakes on the card for Florida-breds.

Earlier, Swinger's Party ($10.40) took the Millions Distaff Preview by three-quarters of a length, with 7-5 choice Devil's Cave finishing fifth in the field of eight fillies and mares (VIDEO). Edgard Zayas was aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  for owner Miller Racing and trainer Marty Wolfson. The dark bay filly was bred by Farnsworth Farm. The final time for one mile was 1:40.59.

Bad Debt ($3.20), at 3-5 odds, captured the Millions Turf Preview by half a length with Paco Lopez aboard for owner Robert Leibner and trainer Michael Trombetta (VIDEO). The 7-year-old gelding by Grand Reward was bred by Pennston Farms. He completed the 1 1/16-mile distance on firm turf in 1:41.92.

The Juvenile Filly Turf went to Hangover Saturday ($7.40), who completed the one-mile distance in 1:39.27 while winning by 2 1/4 lengths with Abdiel Jaen in the irons (VIDEO). The daughter of Pomeroy races for her breeders, John Eaton and Steve Laymon, along with Mark Sayeg. Like a Queen, the 11-10 favorite, finished seventh of eight.

Mr. Jordan ($3.80), the 9-10 favorite, took over in the stretch to score a three-length victory in the Juvenile Sprint, competing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.32 with Lopez aboard (VIDEO). Eddie Plesa Jr. trains the winning son of Kantharos  for David Melin, Leon Ellman, and Laurie Plesa. The colt was bred by Philip and Karen Matthews.

Favored Firespike ($5.20), ridden by Prado, drew off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Juvenile Turf for trainer Mike Maker (VIDEO). Skychai Racing, Charles Kevin Warner, and Sand Dollar Stable own the Flower Alley colt, who was bred by Michael Bossio and Cherie Abner. The bay was timed in 1:36.15 for the one-mile journey.

The final race on the card, the Juvenile Filly Sprint, went to upsetter Leap Year Luck ($17.20), ridden by Jesus Rios for owner/breeder Jacks or Better Farm. Stanley Gold trains the daughter of Hear No Evil who ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.35 (VIDEO).