HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart ($3.80) put on another front-running display to secure the $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
It was his second graded stakes victory of the Championship Meet and sixth overall in his career. Bet down to 4-5, the Ontario-bred cleared the field from post eight and coasted along on the lead. His rivals attempted to give chase entering the stretch, but jockey Julien Leparoux had plenty in reserve aboard the favorite, and Heart to Heart surged clear to record a 2 1/2-length tally. The 5-year-old was timed in 1:33.52 for the one-mile Canadian Turf.
“He was very comfortable and relaxed down the backstretch,” Leparoux said. “I was very confident [turning for home]. He handles the sharp turns really well and just started galloping easy.”
Heart to Heart had shown his best form when allowed to make the running, and utiltized that style to win the Jefferson Cup (G3) and Commonwealth Turf (G3) as a 3-year-old in 2014. He notched two additional wire-to-wire wins last season in the Oceanport Stakes (G3) and River City Handicap (G3), and kicked off 2016 in similar fashion in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) going 8 1/2 furlongs over the Gulfstream sod on January 9. Brian Lynch, who has trained Heart to Heart since his sophomore season, believes that his charge’s speed and agility are the keys to his success.
“He’s done it that way most of his career and (his style) sort of speaks for itself out there,” Lynch said. “He runs the turn so well, that’s a real asset to him. By the time you get to him, he’s stolen a couple lengths. When you’ve watched him enough and those little ears get to fluttering back and forth, you know he’s traveling nicely. It’s a great combination (with Leparoux) and the two get along together very well. He just knows how much gas is in the tank. The horse has come into himself as a 5-year-old, he’s gotten bigger and stronger.”
Heart to Heart had a one-length lead after a first half-mile in :48.01, and scooted clear through the home turn before opening a bit more daylight in front of the grandstand. Long On Value, third in the early stages, was forced to check late, but reached the wire a neck in front of the hard-charging Divisidero.
“I was frightened that maybe the 9-horse (Passion for Action) might show a little speed and go with him, but he didn’t seem to break as well so we inherited the lead,” Lynch added. “When he went into the turn he was uncontested and you know he’s going to try to gather momentum. He was just full of run down the lane.”
A son of English Channel and the mare Ask the Question, Heart to Heart took his earnings to $726,030 in the Canadian Turf. He will now tackle the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 15.
“We’re going to step him up a little bit, it’s a good time of year to have a miler coming into form,” Lynch said. “Obviously if you can pull off a race like that they’re guaranteed a life somewhere when it’s all said and done—someone will stand him somewhere. These horses do so much and you want to make sure they have the quality of life. Hopefully he’s building a little stud career for himself.”
Faufiler Flies Home in Sand Springs
The regally bred Faufiler ($27.80) showed an impressive turn of foot to upset the inaugural running of the $100,000 Sand Springs Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Drawn on the far outside, the 5-year-old mare was guided to the rail by jockey Edgar Prado shortly after the break and caboosed the field early. She maintained that position while Daring Kathy set a fast pace up front, and began to pick it up approaching the far turn. Fanned wide entering the stretch, Faufiler launched her rally up the center of the course and reeled in favored Partisan Politics on her way to a one-length victory. She covered the mile in 1:33.01. It was the first win for Prado at the Championship Meet since recovering from six broken ribs.
Bred in Ireland by the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Holdings, Faufiler is a daughter of leading stallion Galileo and 2003 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) heroine Six Perfections. She began her career in France for trainer Pascal Bary. She was a stakes winner there at three and four, but came up empty for new conditioner Graham Motion in her U.S. bow, the Cardinal Handicap (G3) in November.
“I thought her last race was just a complete disaster,” Motion summed up. “It was a bad night, it rained hard, the turf was very soft, we kind of hustled her out of there to get her in the race and it was just a disaster. I told Edgar today there was no pressure. His idea was to tuck her in and save the ground because you’ve got no shot from the 13-hole saving ground otherwise. When I saw the 45 and change, I felt pretty good.”
Source: Gulfstream Park