Saturday, January 16, 2021
HALLANDALE BEACH - Under a well-orchestrated ride by Miguel Vasquez, 14-1 shot Cajun Brother edged defending champion and 3-2 favorite Extravagant Kid by a neck today in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park
Cajun Brother paid $31.60 for his first career stakes score. It was a satisfying all-in-the-family victory for trainer-owner Michael Yates, who also bred the 4-year-old gelding at his Shadybrook Farm. Yates trained and co-owns the sire Cajun Breeze and earned $70,105, which includes a $25,000 bonus for Florida Sire Stakes-eligible horses.
“It just looked like a place to go with him,” Yates said. “I’ve always felt he’s this caliber.” Cajun Brother is now 4-0-1 in eight starts with earnings of $163,005.
Cajun Brother ventured out of Florida for the first time in November and ended up a well-beaten sixth in the Perryville Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup weekend program at Keeneland. Following an encouraging performance in his most recent start on Dec. 13 at Gulfstream, Yates decided to try the Sunshine Millions Sprint.
“We bit off little more than we could chew shipping to Kentucky,” Yates said. “His last race he ran a good race, a beaten third, but not far. He just progressed and trained well since. It was just the next step.”
Breaking toward the outside in the eight-horse field, Vazquez was able to put Cajun Breeze in a contending inside position right behind early leader Inter Miami, who got the first quarter in :22:32 seconds. Extravagant Kid, an 8-year-old with eight stakes victories surged into the lead along the rail on the turn. Meanwhile, Vazquez and Cajun Brother settled in the fourth spot, a couple of lengths off the pace through a half-mile in :45.69.
Extravagant Kid entered the stretch with a comfortable 1 ½-length lead, but Vazquez had already moved his horse three wide and had him poised to make a run. Cajun Brother caught and passed Extravagant Kid inside the sixteenth pole and finished the six furlongs in 1:10.97. With Verve was third.
Cajun Brother is from the first crop of horses sired by Cajun Breeze, who was second in the 2012 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint for Yates. The son of Congrats stands at co-owner Gilbert Campbell's Stonehedge Farm in Williston for a private fee and has done well for Campbell, too, especially in the Florida Sire Stakes with Breeze On By, winner of the 2020 Dr. Fager and Affirmed, and second in the In Reality, and the stallion's leading earner with $303,000.
”He’s throwing runners,” Yates said. “He’s a horse a man can make a living with. He throws a good athletic horse and they’re just runners. They’re nice horses.
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