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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It lived up to his name when making a risky move in the far turn that ultimately made the difference in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Tyler Gaffalione as the 3/5 bettors’ choice, Chance It saved ground on the inside as the field exited the chute onto the main track. Up ahead, Smash Factor soared out to a wide early lead before posting opening fractions of :22.42 and :45.10, but his significant lead vanished by the time he began making the far turn.
As Seen On Tv and jockey Paco Lopez kept Chance It pinned inside before making a move around Smash Factor’s outside. Gaffalione waited until a small opening appeared between Smash Factor and the rail, then surged Chance It through.
At the top of the stretch, As Seen On Tv held a slim advantage, but Chance It refused to give in. Fighting gamely along the inside the length of the stretch, Chance It inched ahead in the shadow of the wire for the victory.
Trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., Chance It was a head clear of As Seen On Tv in a final time of 1:35.53 for the mile-long event over the fast main track.
“Paco was keeping an eye on us, so I sat inside and had to wait (in the far turn),” Gaffalione said. “I was wanting to get outside of him but he was keeping an eye on us during the race. I knew Paco wasn’t going to let me out so I took my shot and went inside. My horse fought gamely. Saffie did an incredible job.”
Despite being denied at the finish line, As Seen On Tv was 2 1/4 lengths clear of Sole Volante, making his first dirt start after being undefeated in two turf tries. It was 7 lengths back to South Bend in fourth, while behind him came Inter Miami, Smash Factor, and Ashaar to complete the order of finish.
Chance It’s win was his second straight following a sizzling score in the FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes here on September 28 and improved his overall record to 6-4-2-0. The Florida-bred 3-year-old son of Currency Swap has now amassed $444,910 in earnings and will likely enter a local Kentucky Derby prep race for his next effort.
“There’s the Holy Bull (Stakes [G3] on February 2) and the Fountain of Youth (Stakes [G2] on February 29),” said Joseph, Jr. “We’ll decide which one we want to go to. We have plenty of options, but I want to stay home. We’ll see which way we want to go.”
Chance It returned $3.40 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. As Seen On Tv brought back $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show, while Sole Volante paid $4.60 to show.
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