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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Under a well-orchestrated ride by Miguel Vasquez, 14/1 longshot Cajun Brother edged defending champion and 3/2 favorite Extravagant Kid by a neck Saturday in the Sunshine Sprint at Gulfstream Park.
Cajun Brother paid $31.60 for his first career stakes win. It was a satisfying all-in-the-family victory for trainer-owner Michael Yates, who also bred the 4-year-old gelding at his Shadybrook Farm. Yates trained and owns the sire Cajun Breeze and earned the $25,000 bonus for Florida Sire Stakes-eligible horses.
“It just looked like a place to go with him,” Yates said. “I’ve always felt he’s this caliber.”
Cajun Brother ventured out of Florida for the first time in November and ended up a well-beaten sixth in the Perryville Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup weekend program at Keeneland. Following an encouraging performance in his most recent start on Dec. 13 at Gulfstream, Yates decided to try the Sunshine Millions Sprint.
“We bit off little more than we could chew shipping to Kentucky,” Yates said. “His last race he ran a good race, a beaten third, but not far. He just progressed and trained well since. It was just the next step.”
Breaking toward the outside in the eight-horse field, Vazquez was able to put Cajun Breeze in a contending inside position right behind early leader Inter Miami, who got the first quarter in 22:32 seconds. Extravagant Kid, an 8-year-old with eight stakes victories surged into the lead along the rail on the turn. Meanwhile, Vazquez and Cajun Brother settled in the fourth spot, a couple of lengths off the pace through a half-mile in 45.69.
Extravagant Kid entered the stretch with a comfortable 1 ½-length lead, but Vazquez had already moved his horse three-wide and had him poised to make a run. Cajun Brother caught and passed Extravagant Kid inside the sixteenth pole and finished the six furlongs in 1:10.97. With Verve was third.
Cajun Brother is from the first crop of horses sired by Cajun Breeze, who was second in the 2012 Sunshine Sprint and seventh in 2013 for Yates.
”He’s throwing runners,” Yates said. “He’s a horse a man can make a living with. He throws a good athletic horse and they’re just runners. They’re nice horses.”
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