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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Calumet Farm homebred Kentucky Pharoah set a quick tempo that proved too much for his rivals to overcome as he wired Saturday’s $75,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Julien Leparoux as the 3/1 second choice, Kentucky Pharoah initially fought for the lead with the rail-breaking 3/5 favorite Fighting Force before outkicking him in the clubhouse turn.
Settling comfortably on the backstretch, Kentucky Pharoah ticked off opening fractions of :23.60, :46.80, and 1:10.47 while Lauda Speed gave closest watch.
Fighting Force tipped off the rail and made a three-wide bid in the far turn, but Kentucky Pharoah had more than enough left in the tank as he straightened for home.
The Jack Sisteron trainee drew off under mild encouragement to win the mile-long firm turf route by 3 lengths in 1:34.07.
“The favorite was inside of us and he wanted to go too, so I just wanted to make sure I was in front of him on the first turn,” Leparoux said. “After that, it was just a question of getting him to relax, and he did.”
Fighting Force was second by 3/4 of a length over Cave Hill, who snuck up for third in a photo finish over Lauda Speed and It’s a Gamble.
Omaha City trailed throughout before completing the order of finish.
Like a Saltshaker was scratched from the field restricted to 3-year-olds.
Kentucky Pharoah’s win was his second straight following a similar gate-to-wire score over this course and distance 2 weeks ago in his turf debut. Unplaced in a pair of dirt tries to start his career, the American Pharoah colt now holds a record of 4-2-0-0 with $72,819 earned.
“Fantastic ride,” Sisterson said. “We really put it in Kentucky Pharoah’s hands, whether he could come back in 2 weeks. He’s energetic. He was going to breeze (Sunday) at Palm Meadows, and he probably would have breezed too quick, so why not run him instead?”
Kentucky Pharoah returned $8.40 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Fighting Force brought back $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show, while Cave Hill paid $2.60 to show.
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