Joseph and Barbosa Deadlock for Gulfstream Trainers' Title
Sunday, November 26, 2023

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Saffie Joseph Jr. and Victor Barboza Jr. finished in a dead-heat for the training title for the Sunshine Meet that came to a close Saturday at Gulfstream Park with 33 winners each.

    Joseph saddled Mojave Desert ($9.20) for a victory in Race 1 to pull even with Barboza, who entered Saturday’s card with a 32-31 edge. Barboza countered in Race 2 with Grand Daniel ($7). Joseph came back to tie it up in Race 6 with Breezero ($2.60).

    Joseph has won eight consecutive training titles at Gulfstream Park, including the last two Championship Meet crowns. Jose D’Angelo, who had been in the thick of a three-way battle for the training title, finished third with 30 winners.

    Unlike Joseph and Barboza, Edgard Zayas held a commanding lead among the riders throughout the meet that started Sept. 9. The 30-year-old Puerto Rico native, who rides first-call for Joseph, finished with 59 wins, 21 more than runner-up Miguel Vasquez.

    “It’s been great. I’ve been getting support from all the owners and trainers,” Zayas said after riding Breezero to a six-length maiden victory in Race 6. “I’m so happy to be healthy.” He is looking forward to the Championship Meet that gets underway next Friday and runs through March 31.

    “My agent (Tito Fuentes) always told me this is the most important meet of the whole [off-season], because you’ve got to go into the Championship on a roll,” said Zayas, who rode a pair of winners on the closing day program, “This is an important meet going into the Championship Meet.”

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $125,000 Friday. The multi-race wager went unsolved Saturday for the sixth program following a $136,285 jackpot hit.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, headlined by a $72,000 five-furlong optional claiming allowance over the newly renovated turf course. Laura Cazares-trained Yes I Am Free, a multiple graded-stakes winner who has dominated his competition at Gulfstream in turf sprints the past few years, returns from a three-month freshening in the deep field of 12. Championship Meet newcomer Brittany Vanden Berg is scheduled to saddle multiple graded stakes-placed Bad Beat Brian. Joseph-trained Axthelm, a graded stakes-placed son of Into Mischief, returns to Gulfstream off a third-place allowance finish at Keeneland.

    A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool will be held on Saturday’s program.

   Leon King Stable Corp.’s Bentornato will put an undefeated record on the line next Saturday in a quest to sweep the 2023 Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The Jose D’Angelo-trained son of Valiant Minister breezed five furlongs in 1:04.80 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County.

    “Bentornato worked so good. Last week was his hard workout. This week, he went good. He started slow and finished the way I wanted,” D’Angelo said. “He’s ready to go.” Bentornato has three stakes victories on his unblemished four-race resume, including commanding triumphs in the $100,000 Dr. Fager and the $200,000 Affirmed in the Florida Sire Stakes series.

Leave a comment below
comments powered by Disqus