How's Your Halo, off at odds of 47-1, caught Ikigai in the final strides to earn his first graded stakes win in the $150,000 Richter Scale (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 14.
Brian Prichard, who owns and trains the winner, got his first victory at Gulfstream. The veteran campaigner How's Your Halo was shunned by bettors after beating just one in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream, a race won by Ikigai on Jan. 17.
Ridden by Juan Leyva, the 6-year-old son of Halo's Image was by far the longest shot on the board. But he was always close to the pacesetting Ikigai, launching his bid at the top of the long Gulfstream homestretch. How's Your Halo's relentless pursuit was rewarded in the final yards with a half-length over Ikigai. The final time for the seven-furlong test was 1:23.16 on a fast track.
Ikigai, the 19-10 second choice in the field of six, was under a firm hold by Jermaine Bridgmohan through early fractions of :22.37 and :44.74. He fought back when collared in deep stretch before yielding in the final yards. Bold Start, ridden by Manoel Cruz, was 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third.
Tale of Ekati , the 11-10 choice in his first start since his win via disqualification in Aqueduct's Cigar Mile (gr. I) Nov. 29, was unable to overcome an awkward start for Edgar Prado and wound up fourth, 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Ling Ling Qi and Now a Victor trailed.
“He had a little bleeding issue in his last race for the first time in his career, which we were able to take care of since then," Prichard said of How's Your Halo. "I claimed him here three years ago for $40,000. He’s run big races before, like finishing second to Benny the Bull in the Smile (gr. II) last summer at Calder. I told Juan to put him into the race. I thought we were the only horse in there that could put any pressure on Ikigai.”
How's Your Halo paid $96.20, $23.40, and $9.80 while topping a $2 exacta worth $263.40. Ikigai, coming off back-to-back victories for trainer Martin Wolfson, returned $3.80 and $3.40. Bold Start, conditioned by Ken McPeek, was $5.20 to show.
“Everything went well with the horse," Leyva said. "The plan was to get in position and try to stay with Mr. Wolfson’s horse. Coming from the outside I think helped us a lot. The horse really emptied the tank at the turn. I don’t know what the future plans are. I just hope I’m involved.”
How's Your Halo's last win came in the Radar Love at Calder Race Course Nov. 22. Overall, the bay horse has won seven of 34 starts. The $90,000 winning purse from the Richter Scale increased his lifetime earnings to $460,898.
White Cross Farm bred How's Your Halo in Florida. He is out of the Little Current mare Say How You Feel.