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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Wake Forest kicked off his 7-year-old season in winning fashion Saturday with a gutsy head victory over a late-running Patterson Cross in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
It was the first win for Wake Forest, favored at 2-1 in the field of 11 older grass runners, since capturing the Man o’War (G1) in his second North American start last May. The winning time was 2:13.54 for 1 3/8 miles over a firm turf course.
Jockey Javier Castellano settled Wake Forest in mid-pack as 25-1 long shot Reporting Star, a Grade 3 winner at Gulfstream last spring, posted fractions of 24.18 seconds, 47.88, 1:13.70 and 1:38.23 with only mild pressure from Smooth Daddy to his outside.
Castellano swung Wake Forest five wide as the field rounded the far turn for the second and final time, launched a steady drive down the middle of the stretch, and emerged in front from a four-way photo finish. Patterson Cross was second by a neck over Reporting Star, who was another neck ahead of Bigger Picture. Mr. Maybe, Danish Dynaformer, Flatlined, Charming Kitten, Watershed, Twilight Eclipse, and Smooth Daddy rounded out the order.
Wake Forest returned $6, $3.80, and $3.20. Patterson Cross brought back $8.20 and $5.80, while Reporting Star paid $15.60 to show.
Trainer Chad Brown (Wake Forest): “Given the trip he got, Javier really did a good job the first couple turns saving a lot of ground. He had no choice but to go that wide turning for home. I thought maybe it would take a little starch out of him those last few strides. But I will tell you, this horse showed a lot of heart. We’re really proud of him.”
“I think I’ll run him one more time between now and [the Man o’War]. Maybe one more start here in the Pan American [G2 April 1] and then maybe on to the Man o’War after that.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Wake Forest): “I had a beautiful trip. I saved the ground, I didn’t want to be too far back, but I didn’t want to be too close to the pace, either. Everything unfolded the right way. I saved all the ground the first two turns, and then I took a shot and took him to the outside, and he gave me his run. He’s a phenomenal horse.”
Source: Gulfstream Park
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