Curlin's Approval wins the Hurricane Bertie

Curlin's Approval wins the Hurricane Bertie

Coglianese Photos/Viola Jasko

Curlin’s Approval Makes Grade in Hurricane Bertie

The 4-year-old daughter of Curlin won by 2 1/2 lengths.

Happy Alter's homebred Curlin's Approval was much the best Jan. 28, when she scored her first graded stakes win in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park

Video: Hurricane Bertie S. (G3)

In the seven-furlong test for fillies and mares, it was Bodacious Babe, Improv, and Linda Linda who took the early lead and traveled stride-for-stride together down the backside, setting early fractions of :23 flat and :46.46.

Odds-on favorite Curlin's Approval raced behind that trio in fourth, while 2-1 second choice Genre, who stumbled at the start, was another length and a half back in sixth. 

As the entire seven-horse field bunched up around the far turn, Curlin's Approval, under jockey Luis Saez, went wide and easily moved by the fading Improv and Linda Linda. Bodacious Babe continued to hold on and challenged Curlin's Approval into the stretch, but she was no match for the 4-year-old daughter of Curlin , who easily moved by to win by 2 1/2 lengths for trainer Marty Wolfson. The final time was 1:23.23. 

Genre rallied to get up for second, a head in front of Distinta in third. Bodacious Babe, You Bought Her, Improv, and Linda Linda completed the order of finish.

"She broke good," Saez said. "We got behind the three (horses) and got her to a good spot. I slipped out and once we got to the outside, she started running. I thought we had it at that point."

Curlin's Approval returned $3.60, $2.40, and $2.10 across the board. Genre paid $2.80 and $2.60, while Distinta delivered $5.20.

"I think this filly will go on and be in the winner's circle in grade 1 competition. I might try to stretch her out next time, just to give her that opportunity," Alter said of the filly, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Eskenformoney in the one-mile Rampart Stakes (G3) last month. "She's so nice, never tries to bite anyone, a real lady. She can make up what a lot of other horses couldn't. She'd never been that far back before, but she proved she could handle it. This is a great day at Gulfstream and I'm glad to be a part of it." 

Four races later, Stoneway Farm's Pretty Perfection scored by 1 1/2 lengths in the five-furlong $125,000 Gulfstream Park Ladies' Turf Sprint Stakes

Video: Race 8 (MSW) at GP on 1/28/17

Sent off at 13-1, the 5-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection  raced off the pace, went around her weakening foes in the turn, and rallied under jockey Nik Juarez to catch Everything Lovely in the stretch. Everything Lovely finished second a head in front of a late surging Triple Chelsea. Nite Delite, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth. The final time was :55.31. 

It was the first stakes win for the Kelly Breen-trained Pretty Perfection, who now has five wins from 12 starts. Bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones, she was a $155,000 purchase by Stoneway from the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.  

In the ninth race, the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes, a thrilling photo-finish between Power Alert and Rainbow Heir  went to the 7-year-old Australian-bred gelding. 

Video: Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S.

AJ Suited Racing Stable and Brian Lynch's Power Alert, who was the 3-1 second choice, raced just behind Pay Any Price and longshot Doctor J Dub, before making his move in the turn. Under jockey Julien Leparoux, the gelding eventually got by Pay Any Price in the deep stretch. A late flying Rainbow Heir, with jockey Trevor McCarthy, was closed gamely on the outside, but just missed. Long on Value finished third. The final time was :54.90.

Manhattan Dan, the 2-1 favorite, and 2015 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) winner Mongolian Saturday finished off the board.