Bravo Guides Za Approval to Red Bank Victory
Live Oak Plantation's 5-year-old homebred waited patiently near the back of the pack before moving around the far turn, splitting rivals, and finishing willingly in front by three-quarters of a length.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Za Approval carried top weight of 123 pounds and covered the mile on firm turf in 1:34 2/5. He paid $3.80, $3, and $2.80 as the 9-10 choice in a field of 11 colts and geldings.
Tune Me In held for second at 18-1 with Gabriel Saez, completing the $48.60 exacta and paying $13.20 and $8. Bad Debt, ridden at 38-1 by Victor Santiago, was just a nose back in third and paid $10.
"It's really cool to ride an old pro like this horse," Bravo said. "He just gave me the impression that he was in control the whole time. I was just waiting for a place to go and he did the rest."
Two Notch Road set the pace, posting quarter-mile splits of :23.49 and :47.53 before he was overtaken by Tune Me In, who reached the quarter pole in 1:10.69. Tune Me In led to deep stretch before giving way to the surging Za Approval.
By Ghostzapper out of the With Approval mare Win Approval, Za Approval boosted his lifetime record to 6-3-0 from 13 starts. He has now banked $302,165 for his connections.
The gray/roan gelding was coming off a one-length victory in the one-mile Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 30 on the Gulfstream Park turf.
"Everything worked out just as we had hoped," said assistant trainer Fernando Torres.
Sleepless Knight finished fourth, followed by Two Notch Road, Admiral Perry, Mezzano, Monument Hill, Finale, Hobbs, and Javerre. Utley was scratched and Ruler On Ice was entered for the main track only.
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