Value Plus Puts Things Together in Artax

Value Plus, ridden by John Velazquez, surged to the front coming out of the turn and romped to a four-length victory over 6-5 favorite Gygistar in Saturday's $100,000 Artax Handicap at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

The 4-year-old gray/roan son of Unbridled's Song won his first stakes race, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and Velazquez their second stakes victory Saturday. Value Plus ended a five-race losing streak.

Super Frolic, who made a big move on the turn, held for third with Stockholder fourth in the seven-horse field.

Value Plus ran the 7½ furlongs of the Artax in track record time of 1:28.42. He paid $8.80, $3.40 and $2.80.

"This horse has shown signs of brilliance all along," Pletcher said. "Hopefully he's learning to put it all together."

Value Plus was a factor from the start, racing three wide but lapped on the early leaders, Christine's Outlaw and Built Up, who clicked off fractions of :22 2/5 and :45. As those two faded, Value Plus took over and easily held off Gygistar ($2.80, $2.40) in the lane, who was along for second by a half-length over 27-1 Super Frolic ($5.40) while never challenging the winner.

Value Plus, carrying 114 pounds, received four pounds from the runner-up.

Marie and Aaron Jones own the Kentucky-bred winner, who earned $60,000 for his third win in 11 starts. He has career winnings of $274,900.

(Chart, Equibase)