HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Valedictorian set an easy pace and won Saturday’s Grade 3. $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park in wire to wire fashion. This was the first career graded stakes victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Temple City and her first win of 2019.
The 1-9 post time favorite, Rymska, broke well but it was Valedictorian from the 5th position who got up to the front for the early lead. Rymska was a close second on the rail and Peach of a Gal sat outside of Rymska in third as they made their way around the first turn. Valedictorian, with jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard, faced little pressure on the lead and set a comfortable pace with early fractions of :25.56 and :51.88. Rymska, who had the inside position, drifted out wide slightly and allowed Special Event to sneak up on the inside as they made their way along the backstretch. As they hit the second turn, Peach of a Gal made the first move on the outside but Valedictorian responded well to the move and maintained her lead while Rymska got stuck behind horses. Into the stretch, Rymska finally had space to make a move but ran out of ground as Valedictorian cruised to victory. Rymska finished an easy second followed by Peach of a Gal in third and Vagabond Princess in fourth.
“I put [Valedictorian] in front. Nobody went with me so I took a nice little hold,” said jockey Tyler Gaffalione. “She relaxed and had her ears up the whole way. When I asked her to run, she really exploded. She had everything her own way today.”
Valedictorian is owned by Epic Racing and Trained by Kelly Breen.
“She was sharp,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “I didn’t think she could get a mile and an eighth. Things worked out. The pace worked out. Tyler rode her great.”
Valedictorian returned $21.20 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.00 to show. Rymska brought back $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show, while Peach of a Gal paid $5.20 to show.
Scratch: Conquest Hardcandy