HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) – On Saturday, Being eclipsed wasn’t a good thing for Shanghai Bobby.
Itsmyluckyday won the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes, overtaking Eclipse Award-winning favorite Shanghai Bobby in the stretch and breaking the Gulfstream Park record for 1 1/16 miles.
Shanghai Bobby won the Eclipse Award as 2-year-old champion at Gulfstream a week earlier.
“The winner was very good today, we were second-best,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose horse lost for the first time in six career races. “We got a good trip. You just don’t expect you’re going to have to break the track record by 3/5 of a second in order to win the first trip of the year. I was happy with it.”
Ridden for the first time by Elvis Trujillo, Itsmyluckyday won by two lengths, finishing in 1:41.81 and paying $11.40, $4.40 and $3.80 in the Grade 3 Kentucky Derby prep race.
“I’m not going to say he’s the best 3-year-old, I’m going to say he was the best 3-year-old here today,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., whose horse started from the seventh post position.
“Words can’t describe it. It’s something everybody should feel. Anybody in this game deserves to have this feeling. I wish them all to have this feeling sometime … just not today.”
Shanghai Bobby, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, returned $3 and $2.80 in his season debut. Clearly Now, ridden by Luis Saez, paid $11.40 to show.
Shanghai Bobby broke well from the rail and grabbed the early lead. He set the pace in the backstretch until being challenged nearing the quarter pole. That’s where Itsmyluckyday went to the leader’s outside, shook free at the eighth pole and drew clear in the final sixteenth.
“This was a very fast trip with two horses out in front and us right behind,” Trujillo said. “This was the trip Mr. Plesa and I hoped for.”
Itsmyluckyday, who also won the Gulfstream Park Derby by six lengths on New Year’s Day, figures to be one of the favorites for the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30. Plesa was noncommittal about that race until seeing how the horse came out of the Holy Bull.
“He’s going to tell me what he wants to do,” Plesa said. “It’s a 3-year-old — everybody’s excited because of the Kentucky Derby. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in that.”
Plesa has trained one Kentucky Derby horse, filly Three Ring in 1999.
The victory was Itsmyluckday’s fifth in nine career starts after racing at Monmouth Park, Calder and Delta Downs last year. The son of Lawyer Ron was purchased by for $110,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales’ March 2-year-old sales by Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa.
Earlier at Gulfstream, 1-5 favorite Kauai Katie went wire-to-wire to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes. The Pletcher-trained filly won for the fifth time in six career starts. Kauai Katie ran seven furlongs in 1:22.13 to finish 5 1/2 lengths ahead of My Happy Face.
Also, Cerro, a 3-year-old colt partly owned by 18-time Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, won the $54,500 third race. Phelps and his former coach, Bob Bowman, share an ownership interest in the Ireland-bred colt, which runs in the colors of Team Valor International. Cerro is trained by Graham Motion, who oversaw 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom for Team Valor.