HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Christophe Clement’s Decorated Invader made a sharp return from nearly five months off on Saturday, storming up to the lead late before winning going away in the $100,000 Cutler Bay Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 10 under Joel Rosario as the 9/5 favorite, Decorated Invader took back into his customary position at the rear of the field. Up front, Get Smokin and Inter Miami were hell-bent on setting a scorching pace, separating themselves by several lengths while posting fractions of :22.53, :45.59, and 1:09.54.
Heading into the far turn, the pacesetters’ large lead had vanished. Get Smokin pulled ahead for a slight lead through the turn, but by the time he reached the top of the stretch, the cavalry was hot on his heels.
Beginning to rally from all the way back, Decorated Invader swung wide off of the far turn and commenced a strong, steady pursuit to the front. Wrestling away the advantage near the 1/16 pole, he continued surging late under a hand ride before crossing 1 1/4 lenths clear.
Proving much the best with zero signs of rust, Decorated Invader completed the mile-long event over the firm turf course in a final time of 1:33.12.
South Vend charged late to take second by 3/4 of a length over a game Get Smokin, with Summer to Remember a 1/2-length back after being unable to advance from his stalking position. Vitalogy looked loaded but fell victim to traffic troubles and settled for sixth, a nose and a head past Fenwick Station and Street Ready, respectively.
Moon Over Miami, Pleasecallmeback, Mr. Hustle, Captain D, and a spent Inter Miami completed the order of finish.
Bye Bye Melvin, Diamonds Enjoy, and Vintage Print were scratched after being unable to draw in from the Also Eligibles list. With Verve was a Main Track Only entry.
Decorated Invader’s win was his second against stakes foes, having taken the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine before finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to end 2019. The 3-year-old son of Declaration of War now carries a record of 5-3-1-0 with $288,035 earned for co-owners West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, William Sandbrook, and Cheryl Manning.
Decorated Invader returned $5.60 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. South Bend brought back $7.20 to place and $4.20 to show, while Get Smokin paid $4 to show.