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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – N. T. S. Stable Inc.’s Stirling Drive ($23.40) made a few lane changes on his way to victory in the $100,000 Not Surprising Stakes at Gulfstream Park, surviving an inquiry and an objection to prevail in the mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds.
Trained by Milt Wolfson, Stirling Drive was prominent throughout, pressing the pace set by Sovereign Warrior, who posted fractions of 23.89 and 48.13 seconds for the first 1/2mile. The son of Verrazano took the lead on the turn into the homestretch and continued on to score by a neck after drifting to his outside on a couple of occasions.
Art G Is Back closed with a rush along the rail after trailing early to finish second, a neck ahead of Forever Mo, who altered course inside the 1/8 pole.
“I wanted to try to take the lead or be right there. I tried to get the lead, but he took a good position outside [pacesetter Sovereign Warrior]. At the 1/2-mile pole, I didn’t see anyone to give us pressure. At the 3/8 pole, I asked him to go,” jockey Samy Camacho said. “At the top of the stretch, he took the lead and kept on going. The last furlong, it got a little tight, but we won the race.”
Stirling Drive ran the mile over a firm turf in 1:36.37 to win his second career stakes. The Florida-bred gelding captured the Juvenile Turf for state-breds at Gulfstream Park West under Camacho last fall.
“He’s a nice little horse, and those horses who beat him before [in the May 4 English Channel] are tough horses,” said Wolfson, referring to Stirling Drive’s third-place finish behind Vow Me Now and Art G. Is Back the last time Camacho had ridden him. “The jock gave him a great ride. He knows him, he’s ridden him before. Unfortunately, he went to Tampa. But he rides him the best.”
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