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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Magic Stables LLC’s Papetu fired off the layoff to win Saturday’s $75,000 Carry Back at Gulfstream Park, victorious in his first start since finishing off the board in the March 27 Florida Derby (G1).
The Carry Back, a 7-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, headlined a 13-race program that also featured Competitive Speed’s return to winning form in the $60,000 Hallandale Beach, an overnight handicap for 3-year-old fillies.
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Papetu ($9.40) ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.51 to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths under Leonel Reyes, who was also aboard Competitive Speed.
The son of Dialed In had earned his way into the Florida Derby with a runner-up finish in the Mucho Macho Man and a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2) during the Championship Meet.
Papetu broke well from his far outside post position and settled several lengths behind the early pace set by Moonlite Strike, stalking by Real Talk on the rail and Lauda Speed on the outside.
Moonlite Strike, who captured the Roar Stakes in his most recent start, set fractions of :22.53 for the first 1/4 and :44.76 seconds for the first 1/2-mile as Papetu made his way into contention on the turn into the homestretch.
Real Talk made a strong move to take the lead at the top of the stretch under Samy Camacho but proved no match for the wide stretch drive of Papetu, who claimed his first stakes victory.
“He ran a good race. He was training very good. I know that he wasn’t 100%, but we had to start somewhere,” trained Antonio Sano said. “We would like to run him at Saratoga in August.”
Papetu was impressive while winning his first 2 starts of his career last year at Gulfstream before venturing to Saratoga to finish sixth in the Saratoga Special (G2) and fifth in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).
The Kentucky-bred colt was competitive with the top 3-year-olds during the Championship Meet before enduring a five-wide trip from his far-outside post position and finishing seventh in the Florida Derby.
In the Carry Back, Real Talk finished second, 3/4 of a length ahead of a tiring Moonlite Strike.
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