Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Classic Rock, returning to stakes company in his seasonal debut off a career-best effort, split horses at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a three-length victory in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) March 3 at Gulfstream Park.
The 40th running of the 6 1/2-furlong event for 4-year-olds and up marked the second career stakes win and first in three tries against graded competition for Classic Rock ($13.20), and the first graded-stakes victory for trainer Kathy Ritvo since Mucho Macho Man won the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). The winning time was 1:18.32 over a fast main track.
"He ran a great race. (Jockey) Luis (Saez) rode a perfect race," Ritvo said. "The horse was ready today. He needed some time after his last race because he had run such a big race. Mr. and Mrs. Reeves gave him the time he needed. They're perfect owners. He appreciated it."
Rock and Fellers, sent off at odds of 15-1, was intent on the lead from far outside post 11 and took the field through an opening quarter-mile in :22.24 with Classic Rock and Saez chasing along the rail in second and 30-1 shot Unbridled Outlaw to their outside.
Unbridled Outlaw edged past Classic Rock on the far turn after Rock and Fellers went the half in :45.44, but Saez was able to duck through an opening between the tiring pacesetter on the inside and Unbridled Outlaw and opened up once he found daylight.
"We had a pretty nice trip," Saez said. "He broke very well. We stayed on the fence because I saw the horse in front of me was getting out, so I knew we had the chance to get through and thank God we got through and won the race."
Multiple stakes winner Sweetontheladies finished second at odds of 90-1 by a neck over Eight Town, with grade 3 winner Mr. Jordan another two lengths back in fourth. Even-money favorite Favorable Outcome finished sixth.
Classic Rock, a 4-year-old son of Maclean's Music , was bred in Kentucky by Nursery Place, Donaldson & Broadbent out of the High Yield mare A Bit of Pressure. He was a $180,000 purchase by his current connections from Nursery Place's consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, and now owns five wins from six starts at his home track of Gulfstream, including the Roar Stakes last April. Off the board in back-to-back graded attempts in the summer, he rebounded with a front-running 2 1/2-length triumph over older horses going six furlongs Dec. 20.
"He's won before when he didn't have the lead," Ritvo added. "He's such a classy, classy horse. He'll do whatever you ask him to do. He loves this track. He loves it here."
Classic Rock's record stands at five wins from nine starts, with earnings of $183,902.
Video: Gulfstream Park Sprint S. (G3)