Octane Turns on the Gas in Big Drama Handicap
Sunday, May 26, 2024

    HALLANDALE BEACH -  Arindel’s Octane asserted his class in Saturday’s $100,000 Big Drama Handicap at Gulfstream Park, where the graded stakes-winning millionaire carried high-weight of 124 pounds to an overpowering 6 ¼-length victory.

    The Big Drama, a seven-furlong handicap for 3-year-olds and up, co-headlined an 11-race program with the $95,000 Mr. Steele, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up on turf.

     Octane, the 4-5 favorite in a field of six, captured the 1 1/16-mile, Gr. III Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park two starts back. The 5-year-old gelded son of Brethren’s performance Saturday was hardly negatively impacted by Saturday’s cutback to seven furlongs around one turn.

    Octane broke on top before jockey Emisael Jaramillo opted to let speedster Vivir Con Alegria show the way along the backstretch and into the far turn. After pressing fractions of :22.61 and :45.51 seconds for a half-mile, the Arindel homebred took the lead midway on the turn without need of encouragement from Jaramillo. The Florida-bred gelding, who conceded between four and six pounds to his rivals, took complete control of the Big Drama the rest of the way.

    “He broke very well. I wasn’t surprised because he has so much talent, but I was a little surprised about how fast he went to the lead because he was coming from longer races,” Jaramillo said. “I could have won wire-to-wire, but I knew there was a horse (Vivir Con Alegria) with a lot of speed inside, so I just waited.”

    Octane, who finished off-the-board in the 1 1/8-mile, Gr. II Oaklawn Park Handicap in his prior start, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.33 while winning for the ninth time in 20 career starts. Loco Abarrio, who saved ground while tracking the pace, finished second, a neck ahead of Shaq Diesel.

    Jaramillo hadn’t ridden Octane since scoring a front-running victory in a mile optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream in April 2023, but he has a long history with the Juan Alvarado trainee. Jaramillo, who was Venezuela’s winningest jockey of all time before venturing to South Florida in 2015, guided Octane to a maiden score in his second career start in 2021 before coming right back to capture the last two legs of the Florida Sire Stakes series, the $200,000 Affirmed at seven furlongs and the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles. Octane has earned $1,101,640 on a record of 9-4-1 in 20 starts.

Win for The Money Gets the Money 

    Live Oak Plantation’s Win for the Money got the money while proving much the best in the $95,000 Mr. Steele. The 3-2 favorite took advantage of a perfect setup to begin his 2024 season with a 6 ¾-length victory under Edwin Gonzalez – with an assist from his Mark Casse stablemate Eyes On the King.

    Main Event, who registered a front-running victory in theGr. II Fort Lauderdale during the Championship Meet, broke well from the starting gate but was denied the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up by Eyes On the King, who was hustled to the front by Jaramillo. Eyes On the King showed the way around the first turn and on the backstretch, chased closely by Main Event. Win for the Money settled nicely in third following fractions of :22.58 and :46.50 seconds for the first half mile.

    As Eyes On the King and Main Event began to tire from their early efforts, Win for the Money swept to the lead on the turn into the homestretch and drew off to win convincingly.

    “Honestly, we don’t give instructions. It’s more of how they break and go from there,” Casse’s long-time assistant trainer Nick Tomlinson said. “Obviously, the race set up really nice for this horse. He’d been training extremely well, and he showed it today.”

    Win for the Money ran 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf in 1:38.51. Eldon’s Prince closed from last to finish second, a half-length ahead of Me and Mr. C. Main Event finished fourth, while Eyes On the King faded to last in the eight-horse field.

    Win for the Money flirted with graded stakes success in his final two starts of 2023 while finishing second in the Gr. II Autumn and third in the Gr. III Valedictory at Woodbine.

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