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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – William Branch’s Carotari successfully defended his title with a strong gate-to-wire run-off in Saturday’s $75,000 Silks Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Carotari was the 7/5 favorite under Julien Leparoux as he broke a bit awkwardly from post 4 but went to the front nonetheless, where he dueled inside and just ahead of The Connector and Kobe Fifty Two.
The Brian Lynch trainee began pulling away at the top of the stretch and stayed clear of his rivals before crossing the wire 1 1/4 lengths clear, completing the 5-furlong firm turf sprint in :55.43.
“He’s run a couple times here on this track, and for some reason, he shows more speed here than on any other track,” Leparoux said. “We wanted to put him right there on the lead, or at least second. Even if they pressured me the first part of the race, he was not doing it rank. He was just nice and relaxed, and he got a nice breather around the turn actually, and when I turned for home, he went on nicely.”
Citrus Burst necked out The Connector for second. Mai Ty One On, Harry’s Ontheloose, Yes I Am Free, Kobe Fifty Two, and Sovereign Warrior completed the order of finish.
Long Blade scratched.
Carotari’s win was his third at the stakes level and improved his overall record to 18-6-5-2. The 5-year-old Artie Schiller gelding has now earned $377,993.
“I felt like he might have been the class and the speed of the race,” Lynch said. “I told Julien, ‘Break sharp and put him into the race. If they catch him, they beat him. If they don’t, they got beat by a better horse.’ He’s a lovely horse to train. No issues at all. He’s a relatively lightly-raced 5-year-old. His best years could be his 5-, 6-, 7-year-old years.”
Carotari returned $4.80 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Citrus Burst brought back $10 to place and $6.20 to show. The Connector paid $4.60 to show.
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