Friday, April 16, 2021
HALLANDALE BEACH - Bella Inizio Farm LLC’s Laki Lio captured the first race of the juvenile racing season at Gulfstream Park today with a dominating gate-to-wire victory.
The Jena Antonucci-trained son of Pleasant Acres Stallions' Ride On Curlin quickly opened up a clear lead and was never threatened thereafter, scoring by 3 ½ lengths under Angel Arroyo.
“He’s my little rocket ship,” Antonucci said.
Laki Lio ($11), who broke from the rail post position, ran 4 ½ furlongs in :52.16 seconds in the dash that was carded as Race 2 on the nine-race program. The clocking is just one second off the track record. The $40,000 winner's check made Laki Lio the leading money-winning 2-year-old in the country thus far.
“I loved having the one hole. We knew he was quick out of the gate,” Antonucci said. “I loved that he could just stay focused on his job and get out there and just go and set a pace.”
Merlin finished second, a neck ahead of Kitodan, the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven.
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Laki Lio, a Florida home-bred, is eligible for the lucrative Florida Sire Stakes Series that kicks off in August. “This one is a little special for us because I own his grand-dam and I own his dam. The family is cool,” Antonucci said. “We were going to sell him as a yearling, but he didn’t keep growing. He was a first foal. We started training him and developing him at the farm and all of a sudden we were like, ‘This is an interesting little horse. He’s pretty quick. We kept him and just stayed patient."