After a three-horse charge down the stretch, Mar Racing Stable's Hy Riverside got a nose in front of Nauset Beach on the wire in the in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes at Gulfstream Park Jan. 21.
In the 1 1/8-mile test for Florida breds over the fast main track, Nauset Beach went out for the early lead with Piloting a length back in second and odds-on favorite Awesome Slew another half-length back in third. Nauset Beach and jockey Paco Lopez controlled the pace through six furlongs, setting fractions of :24.01, :47.47, and 1:10.87.
Around the far turn, Awesome Slew attempted to go wide around frontrunners, but Nauset Beach and Hy Riverside were not ready to give up. With those three digging in, it was Hy Riverside, under jockey Jose Ortiz, who won by a bob at the wire. Awesome Slew finished third by a half-length.
"(Trainer) Antonio (Sano) told me to warm him up good," Ortiz said. "He said try to put him close to the pace, and he will give you a run at the three-eighths pole. At that point I didn't want to go around, because I felt like I had a lot of horse. I wait, wait, wait, and made my way through a hole, and my horse was very, very brave.
"I knew I was there, but I wasn't sure about the head bob. He gave me everything he had."
Hy Riverside returned $8.80, $5, and $2.80 across the board. Nauset Beach returned $20.20 and $7.40, while Awesome Slew was worth $2.10.
This victory was the 5-year-old son of Macho Uno 's first stakes win. He finished fifth in his last two races, the Hal's Hope and the Harlan's Holiday stakes (both G3) at Gulfstream.
Bred in Florida by Amy Dunne, the gelding was purchased for $32,000 by SJT Racing Stables as a weanling at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. He was then consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds at the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company April 2-year-olds in training sale and purchased by his current owners for $190,000.
The 4-year-old son of Tizway completed the 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:41.81. Under jockey John Velazquez, the H. James Bond-trained gelding wore down the frontrunners Enterprising and Go Around in the deep stretch.
Behind Enterprising by 1 3/4 lengths was Reporting Star. Favorite Go Around finished fourth by a neck.
Our Way returned $10.20, $5.40, and $3.20 across the board. Enterprising paid $5 and $3.20, while Reporting Star was worth $2.80.
"Johnny is the master of all masters," Bond said. "If you want a masterful ride on turf, you call Johnny. That was the difference in the race today—Johnny had him in the right spot. There was no pace up front. This horse usually needs a pace to close into, and Johnny had him in the right spot and saved every inch of ground he could."
Bred by Farm III Enterprices in Florida, Our Way was a $42,000 purchase by Parrish Farms out of the Lane's End consignment at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale. Parrish Farms pinhooked him at the OBS's March 2-year-olds in training sale, where his current owner purchased him for $140,000.