May Gator Takes Dade Turf Classic at Ellis

(from Ellis Park report)
Prior to May Gator's 1 1/4-length victory on Saturday in Ellis Park's $75,000 Dade Turf Classic, trainer Steve Flint gave jockey Jesus Castanon one ultimatum.

"Get her the outside on the backstretch. She can't stand being covered by other horses from that point of the race on," he told the rider.

May Gator was breaking from the rail post postion in the field of eight fillies and mares going 1 1 1/16 miles. It wasn't easy but Castanon timed his move perfectly entering the backstretch. He maneuvered May Gator out five wide. She swept to the front leaving the eighth pole and he let her drift wider at the end.

May Gator avenged an Aug. 15 loss to 2-1 favorite Beret, who failed to fire and finished fifth.

Owned by the Louisville, Ky., partnership of Richard, Bert and Elaine Klein, May Gator paid $10.80, $5.40, $3.80. Early pacesetter Wildwood Royal finished second by a length over Play Maya.

Wildwood Royal returned $4.20, $3.20. Play Maya paid $4.80.

A 5-year-old bay mare by Green Alligator–Thesixthofmay, May Gator was timed in an excellent 1:39.98 over firm ground.

"That's about as good, and about as fast as she can run," said Flint. "And no question she loves this turf course. We started her out on turf here two years ago. This is where she changed from a claiming horse to a stakes horse."

Late during Churchill Downs' 2002 spring meeting, the Kleins claimed May Gator for $30,000. At the time, May Gator had earned $28,000. Since then, she's increased her total to $425,677, including $45,000 for Saturday's triumph.

"They say consistency is the mark of a good horse," said Flint. "And she's certainly that. Look at her record. It says it all."

May Gator's lifetime ledger reads 9-13-5 from 38 starts including three wins and two seconds from six starts on Ellis' turf.

(Chart, Equibase)