Delta Bluesman wins the 2016 Smile Sprint Stakes.

Delta Bluesman wins the 2016 Smile Sprint Stakes.

Coglianese Photos

Delta Bluesman Battles Back in Smile Sprint

Wagon Limit gelding earned his first stakes win.

Monster Racing Stables Delta Bluesman extended his streak of hitting the wire first and claimed his first stakes win July 2 in the $250,000 Smile Sprint (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park

Video: Smile Sprint S. (G2)

The 6-year-old Wagon Limit gelding trained by Jorge Navarro took the early lead, dropped about a half-length back behind Chief Lion on the rail in the turn, and battled back on the inside to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Slight favorite Limousine Liberal edged Chief Lion by a neck to finish second.

Under jockey Emisael Jaramillo, Delta Bluesman sped to the first quarter in :21.70, but was under pressure from the outside by Chief Lion. It appeared as if the David Jacobson-owned and -trained Wildcat Heir gelding put away his front-running rival when the half went in :43.81 and Chief Lion was a half-length in front, but the winner rallied gamely on the rail and pulled clear to finish off the six furlongs in 1:08.94.

"He can be a chicken. I was amazed that he dug in like that," Navarro said. "When (Chief Lion) came up, I thought, 'Jaramillo, what are you doing?’ Because he doesn’t like horses coming next to him. But maybe he is changing, coming around, and becoming the horse that we thought he was in the morning."

“The pace was violent. I just rode my horse," Jaramillo added. "The other horse came to me and opened up a half-length, but my horse came back when I asked him. He never gave up.”

Delta Bluesman has now hit the wire first in four straight contests, but he was disqualified to fifth in the May 14 Decathalon Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The winner paid $5, $2.60, and $2.20 across the board. Limousine Liberal brought $2.60 and $2.20, and Chief Lion delivered $2.40 to show.

Eighty Three finished an even fourth, followed by More Applause, Copingway, and Storming Intl to complete the order of finish.

Bred in Florida by Denis Dwyer, out of the Darn That Alarm mare Smoke Alarm, Delta Bluesman now has a 9-10-7 record from 43 starts with earnings of $433,937.