HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Larry Pratt and Dave Alden’s Doctor Mounty allowed the rest of the field to run out of gas before bursting past under a perfectly-prescribed ride to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Tropical Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 4 under Javier Castellano at 5-1 odds, Doctor Mounty took back and saved ground before entering the clubhouse turn, while White Flag broke quickest of all and took command through opening fractions of :23.53 and :46.87. Beginning to lose his advantage heading through the far turn, White Flag straightened for home and came under attack from the even-money favorite Heart to Heart, who took the lead in midstretch. Gearing up from the rear, Doctor Mounty shifted out wide for the stretch run home and passed foes with gusto. Collaring the bettors’ choice late, the Shug McGaughey trainee edged past in the shadow of the wire to win by a length in a final time of 1:34.62 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“I had a great, great trip,” Castellano said. “That’s what I was looking for today. He broke well out of the gate, but he’s a come-from-behind horse. I said, ‘Let’s take advantage of all the speed in the race.’ The way the race unfolded worked out great for my horse. I sat behind horses and made one run.”
Forced to run wide into the clubhouse turn perhaps paid its toll on Heart to Heart, whose usual style is to set the pace. The favorite slipped late, allowing Your Only Man to catch him at the wire by a nose. White Flag weakened in the stretch to finish fourth, with Vici, Holiday Stone, and Mr Freeze completing the order of finish. Conquest Big E was a Main Track Only entry.
Doctor Mounty’s win was his second in a graded stakes race, pairing with last September’s $200,000 BWI Turf Cup Stakes. The 6-year-old son of Street Sense improved his overall record to 25-7-5-3 with $419,820 in earnings.
“His last race (the Grade 2 Ft Lauderdale Stakes, where he finished eighth), he didn’t run that bad,” McGaughey said. “It was just too tough. He was 70-1. Today, he’s 5-1. He only got beat 8 lengths and there were five Grade 1 winners in the (Ft Lauderdale). I’ve been a little bit puzzled about how far he wants to run. Today, the big thing was to get him relaxed. Javier got him to relax, and when he get that, he finishes up like he did today.”
Doctor Mounty returned $12.20 to win, $6 to place, and $3.20 to show. Your Only Move brought back $8.60 to place and $3.80 to show, while Heart to Heart paid $2.60 to show.