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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – John Minchello’s Competitive Speed closed from far back to capture Saturday’s $60,000 Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream Park, returning to winning form in her second start since a troubled run in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The Hallandale Beach, a 7-furlong overnight handicap for fillies and mares, was featured on a 13-race program that was headlined later in the day by the $75,000 Carry Back, a 7-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds.
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Competitive Speed, who finished off the board in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks after encountering hard bumping at the start, returned to finish second in the June 5 Game Face Stakes, in which she got off to a slow start before making a solid late run. The daughter of Competitive Edge was once again a bit slow leaving her rail post position Saturday, but that would not turn out to be a handicap this time.
Shea D Summer, who registered a front-running victory while defeating Competitive Speed by 2 1/2 lengths in the Game Face, reared in the gate to miss the start of the Hallandale Beach as Restofthestory and Emunah broke alertly to contest the early pace.
Competitive Speed saved ground in sixth along the backstretch several lengths off the pacesetters, who set fractions of 23.08 and 45.56 seconds for the first 1/2-mile. Shea D Summer, the 6/5 favorite ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, made a strong recovery to make a three-wide sweep into contention on the turn into the homestretch.
Jockey Leonel Reyes angled Competitive Speed off the rail on the turn into the homestretch to launch a four-wide drive as Shea D Summer kicked on to take a brief lead in mid-stretch. The Carlos David-trained favorite, however, was no match for the fresh legs of Competitive Speed, the 2/1 second betting choice who drew away to a length victory.
Coach Jer’s Joy rallied widest of all under J. C. Diaz Jr. to finish second, a length ahead of Restofthestory and jockey Edgard Zayas. Shea D Summer shortened stride late to finish fourth.
Competitive Speed ran 7 furlongs in 1:24.24.
“They set a good pace for her. She was a little farther back, but the track is a little deep today and she was getting too much dirt and she didn’t like that,” trainer Javier Gonzalez said. “When she got to the outside, she did what she was supposed to do – what she likes to do.”
Competitive Speed had earned her way into the Kentucky Oaks field with a strong Championship Meet, during which she won the Glitter Woman Stakes and registered third-place finishes in the Davona Dale (G2) and the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
“I was sad with what happened to her in the Kentucky Oaks,” Gonzalez said “She dealt with that, and now she’s been getting better and better every day. She has a big heart.”
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