HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Reporting Star stalked the pace before launching a stretch bid to post a mild upset in Saturday’s $200,000 Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park, scoring at 8-1 odds in his first start for new connections Merriebelle Stable LLC and trainer Brendan Walsh.
The Grade 1 stakes-place multiple stakes winner prevailed by a half-length over Divisidero and jockey Edgar Prado. Force the Pass, the 5-2 favorite ridden by John Velazquez, finished third, another head back, in the mile turf event for 4-year-olds and up.
Long on Value, runner-up in the Canadian Turf last time out, set the pace under Jose Lescano around the first turn and along the backstretch, before surrendering the lead on the far turn to closely attending Force the Pass. After tracking the top two, Reporting Star made a strong move under jockey Luis Saez to take on Force the Pass at the top of the stretch. A wide-running Divisidero made a strong move leaving the turn into the homestretch to make it a three-way drive to the wire, but Reporting Star held gamely for the victory.
Reporting Star, who had finished second, beaten by a half-length in his most recent start in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Jan. 16 ran the mile on a good turf course in 1:35.52.
Dorie Smith (assistant trainer to Brendan Walsh (Reporting Star): “We haven’t had him that long. We got him after his last race. He’s a little feisty, but he’s manageable and you just have to cater to his needs. He’s really been improving with every work. When it started raining I thought it might suit us.”
Jockey Luis Saez (Reporting Star): “It was a big field and I wanted to get him in a good spot. After a half-mile, he was pulling, but I kept waiting a little bit. As soon as we got to the stretch, I let him go. In the stretch I thought the 7 (Force the Pass) would be a little closer to me, but he kept responding when we got to the wire.”
Source: Gulfstream Park