Conner Replaces Zayas, Wins $75,000 Powder Break
Sunday, July 16, 2023

    HALLANDALE BEACH – With main stable rider Edgard Zayas at Saratoga Saturday, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. had to look for a replacement jockey for Transient for the $75,000 Powder Break at Gulfstream Park.

    The Royal Palm Meet’s leading trainer looked as far as Penn National, calling on Tyler Conner to guide the 6-5 favorite in the mile and 70-yard stakes for fillies and mares on Tapeta.

    What did the 29-year-old Pennsylvania native get for his efforts aboard e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ daughter of Sea the Stars? A thrilling victory and a fat lip.

    Conner, a winner of more than 1,100 races, showed why Joseph has such confidence in his riding skills, crafting a brilliant journey aboard the 5-year-old mare. After tossing her head leaving the gate and splitting her jockey’s lip, Transient settled nicely for Conner far off the early pace set by Empress Ellie. Conner elected to save ground along the backstretch before finding room along the rail on the far turn. Transient advanced quickly to loom boldly at the top of the stretch, where her jockey eased her to the outside for the stretch run. The multiple graded stakes-winner exerted her class while splitting horses in mid-stretch to score by two lengths.

     "It was a top-class ride. She’s very difficult to rate. Right out of the gate she raised her head and split Tyler’s lip. But he gave her some ride, because she’s not easy to switch off. Her hardest thing is to relax,” Joseph said. “This was a great steppingstone for her, hopefully back to graded stakes.”

    Transient ran a mile and 70 yards on the all-weather surface in 1:41.40 to win her first career stakes following three graded stakes-placings during the Championship Meet.

    “She settled really nice. I was a little worried I was that far back but when I asked her to do anything, she responded really well. The trip opened up really great,” Conner said.

    Joseph had called on Conner in the past. Last June, Conner finished second aboard Joseph-trained Treasure King in the Not Surprising Stakes at Gulfstream, where he won a race for Joseph earlier on the card.

    “I really appreciate it. It doesn’t happen to me a lot where I come from. For a guy like him to call me out of the blue when he needs a rider, it means a lot,” said Conner, who also rode Joseph-trained Mish to victory in Saturday’s Race 3. Race-long stalker Chick’s Shadow finished second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of To Thyself B True.

Apprentice Rides First U.S. Winner

    Kenedy Berrugate notched his first success in the U.S. Saturday, guiding Pluma Roja ($38.60) to an upset victory in Race 4. The 22-year-old Panama native is a 5-pound apprentice, having won 43 races, including stakes, in his homeland before venturing to South Florida in June.

    Berrugate had several close calls on his first 33 mounts before breaking through aboard Pluma Roja in the 1 1/16-mile $8,000 claiming race on Tapeta for owner/trainer Frank Santillana.

    Berrugate graduated at the top of his class at the Laffit Pincay Jr. Technical Jockey Training Academy in Panama and was highly recommended to agent Cliff Hopmans by the Hall of Fame jockey.

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