In the one-mile turf test for 3-year-olds, the Declaration of War colt stalked Gidu from second through fractions of :22.66, :46.99, and 1:10.94 for six furlongs. Under Emisael Jaramillo, Speed Franco began to chip away at Gidu's lead around the final turn and just got up in time to score by a head. The final time was 1:36.28 over the turf labeled good.
Favored Untamed Domain, the runner up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T), was closing from sixth but couldn't get up to the front two in time and had to settle for third, 2 3/4 lengths back.
"I prefer the horse to be in the front or second (early)," winning trainer Gustavo Delgado said. "His last race I didn't like, he was back (in the Kitten's Joy Stakes). I told the jockey, 'No more, no more, you put the horse in front or second.'
"His next race will be here next month (grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes March 3). I hope he comes back to my barn very good."
The Dania Beach was the second win for the colt, who took the one-mile Pulpit Stakes in December over the Gulfstream turf by six lengths. He entered off a sixth-place run in a blanket finish in the Kitten's Joy Stakes Jan. 6 after traveling in fifth through the early stages of the race.
"The trainer has run this horse how they thought they needed to, close to the lead," Jaramillo said. "In the previous race, he ran from behind and that didn't work, so they decided to run him on the lead. The plan was to chase the lead and it worked today."
Bred by Ice Wine Stables, out of the Street Sense mare Nabat Seif, Speed Franco was purchased by GDS Racing Stable for $170,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale. With two wins and one second from four starts, he increased his earnings to $112,830 with his first graded win.
The Sweetest Chant was the first graded win for the daughter of Thewayyouare, who is owned by Great Point Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables. It was the second consecutive win for her over the Gulfstream turf.
"You don't need to give (jockey) Jose (Ortiz) instructions," winning trainer Graham Motion said. "She had a great post (post 1) and I think Jose's right. She's a little small, a little compact, and it's just easy to maneuver her, particularly here on this turf course where you need to duck and dive into good gaps. She's very tough, and she's got a great turn of foot, and I think that really helps her."
Thewayiam raced in seventh through the first half-mile as longshot My Favorite Gift took the field of nine through fractions of :24.35 and :49.11. Finding a spot close to the rail around the turn for home, Ortiz then shifted Thewayiam out at the top of the stretch and sent the filly driving past rivals toward the finish. Thewayiam won by three-quarters of a length over a fast-closing Salsa Bella in a final time of 1:36.90.
After three starts in France, Thewayiam won an allowance race at Keeneland in October in her U.S. debut. She then shipped to Del Mar and finished 11th in the Nov. 25 Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3T) after stalking the pace. The filly came back Jan. 6 to win the about 7 1/2-furlong Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream with a late kick in the stretch.
"When she ran in California, we really took her out of her game," Motion said. "We kind of rushed her out of there and she had a bad post (post 11). That's just a race to put a line through. It wasn't fair to put on her, really.
"She obviously loves this course (Gulfstream), and I think the difference was we got the jump on the other filly (Data Dependent)."
Motion added that Thewayiam would likely point toward the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3T) March 3 at Gulfstream.
Bred in France by SCA La Perrigne, Thewayiam is out of the Dansili mare Water Feature. She was a $18,658 purchase by Yan Durepaire at the 2016 Arqana Deauville October yearling sale and now has earnings of $171,397 with four wins and one third from seven starts.