HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Three Rules broke through for his first graded stakes victory on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a narrow decision over pacesetter Mo Cash in the Grade 3, $150,000 Carry Back, a 7-furlong dash for 3-year-olds.
The Carry Back was one of three graded stakes on Saturday’s Summit of Speed program that offered seven stakes worth a total of $1 million in purses, including the Grade 2, $250,000 Princess Rooney and the Grade 3, $250,000 Smile Sprint.
Three Rules ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.53 to collect his sixth career victory over a Gulfstream track where he had won the first five starts of his career, including a sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes series last year. The even-money favorite, trained by Jose Pinchin and owned by Bert Pilcher’s Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Geoff Roy, and Tom Fitzgerald, had gone winless in his five subsequent starts while competing with some of the top 3-year-olds in the country this year.
“We got his win streak started back here at his home track,” said Pilcher. “He loves that distance, he loves Cornelio, and he ran a big race. I’m real happy with him. I like the way he relaxed behind horses and made his run when it was time. Jose has just done an unbelievable job with this horse, to keep him at that peak of performance. He’s run a good race every time we’ve taken him to the post. Even when he didn’t win, there was no disgrace. I’ll tell you what, though, [trainer] Ronnie [Spatz’s] horse [Mo Cash] scared me. I thought he was going to get us. He hung tough, too. He’s a nice horse. We’re real, real happy. Graded-stakes winner, my first one that I’ve owned. I’ve raised some but I’ve never owned one that won a graded stake.”
Three Rules saved ground along the backstretch as Mo Cash and Sweetontheladies contested the pace. Jockey Cornelio Velazquez slipped off the rail leaving the backstretch and sent his mount between horses on the turn to engage Mo Cash off the turn. Mo Cash continued to show the way along the rail under Robby Albarado into the stretch as Three Rules swung to the middle of the track for the stretch drive. The pacesetter continued on gamely but was unable to hold off Three Rules by a neck.
“I had a very good trip,” said Velasquez. “He broke good and there was a lot of speed in the race, and I didn’t want to go to the lead. I wanted to stay behind the speed. He had to go between horses and he ran very good today. I followed the hole and waited to the 1/4-pole to ask him, and he was running to the end. The other horse is a good horse, too.”
Mo Cash finished eight lengths ahead of Benefactor, who finished a neck ahead of Crocodile Charlie. Classic Rock, Sweetonetheladies, Blind Ambition, Gregory Sun, Mr Atila, Hunka Burning Love, and Aberdeen Way completed the order of finish.
Three Rules returned $4, $3, and $2.40. Mo Cash brought back $4.60 and $3.40, while Benefactor paid $3.80 to show.