HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Courtlandt Farms’ homebred Strike Power showed why he was a heavy betting favorite, firing fast out of the gate and never looking back en route to wiring a field of six in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Off sharply from the outside post under Luis Saez at odds of 4/5, Strike Power immediately held command by over a length while setting splits of :22.95 and :45.45. Hitting the top of the stretch still in hand, Strike Power kicked clear with ease, leaving his foes far behind while hitting the line first by 2 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:22.68.
“He broke so sharp and was right there,” Saez said. “He did everything perfect. He’s a nice horse. When he came to the stretch, he was just waiting to take off. The plan was to get to the lead. I know they had speed inside but I had the advantage on the outside, so I just broke and was right there. In the stretch, he was waiting for the competition.”
After saving ground at the rear for much of the race, Gotta Go found an opening along the rail and cruised up for second by a length over Diamond King, with Tricks To Doo, Empire Power, and Piven completing the order of finish.
Strike Power’s victory was his second in as many career starts, following his eye-catching debut here in December when he won by 8 lengths over 5 1/2 furlongs. The Mark Hennig-trained 3-year-old son of Speightstown increased his career earnings to $147,960.
“He fell out of there nicely,” Hennig said. “When I saw the head-on (view), it looked like he broke out a little bit, maybe because he was on the rail last time. He’s just quick. He’s quick away from there right in hand. Then, I thought he had it pretty easy from there.”
Strike Power returned $3.60 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. Gotta Go brought back $7 to place and $4.60 to show, while Diamond King paid $3.20 to show.