S. S. Stone, trained by Nick Zito, earned his first graded stakes score in the 1 3/16-mile Skip Away. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Birdstone out of the Dixieland Band mare Sing and Swing is now four-for-four at Gulfstream, with all of the wins having come this year.
S. S. Stone began the meet by winning a $20,000 claiming event for non-winners of two races lifetime, then returned to take an entry-level allowance event. In his most recent start he coasted home much the best in a starter allowance test for horses that had started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less.
With Julien Leparoux riding, S. S. Stone stalked the pace set by Colizeo, took over entering the stretch and steadily drew away to win by two lengths over Jackson Bend, who also is owned by LaPenta in partnership with Jacks or Better Farm. Favored Colizeo held for third, a length behind Jackson Bend and three lengths ahead of Ron the Greek, who rallied from 11th and last to capture fourth.
Drosselmeyer, winner of last year’s Belmont Stakes (gr. I), made a quick move to enter contention on the far turn but flattened out to check in fifth.
Fractions for the Skip Away, raced on a fast surface, were :23.87 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.38 for the half-mile, 1:12.49 for six furlongs, and 1:36,49 for one mile. S.S. Stone finished up in 1:55.73, only about one second off the track record for the distance set by Eddington in 2005.
S. S. Stone, bred by Marylou Whitney Stables, paid $12.60 to win as the fourth choice. The LaPenta-owned exacta returned $68.80 for $2.