Former Canadian champion Heart to Heart again demonstrated how dangerous he is on an uncontested early lead in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park. But just one race later, thanks to a diametrically opposite pace scenario, European blueblood Faufiler exploded from last to first in the companion $100,000 Sand Springs for distaffers.
Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart has won his last seven when allowed to dictate terms on the front end; his losses during this span have come when he doesn’t get that trip. Hence his notable victories in the course of his Sovereign Award campaign – the 2014 Commonwealth Turf (G3), Jefferson Cup (G3), and Better Talk Now – last August’s Oceanport (G3), as well as his current streak including the November 26 River City (G3) and January 9 Ft. Lauderdale (G2), have all been achieved wire to wire.
Looming as the controlling speed in the Canadian Turf, the Brian Lynch trainee was dispatched as the 4-5 favorite, and the script went to plan for jockey Julien Leparoux. Heart to Heart traveled well within himself through splits of :23.86, :48.01 and 1:11.45, and blitzed his final quarter in an uncatchable :22.07.
Heart to Heart pulled 2 1/2 lengths clear while covering the firm-turf mile in 1:33.52. A Canadian-bred whose home province is Ontario, he advanced his record to 20-9-2-2, $726,030. He was also emulating his sire, turf champ English Channel, who won the 2006 Canadian Turf.
Defending Canadian Turf champion Long on Value, who was resuming from an eight-month layoff, had to check behind the leader nearing the first turn. Staying on determinedly from his inside tracking spot, he held second by a neck in a respectable effort.
But the one to follow going forward is fast-finishing third Divisidero. Among the leading turf sophomores of 2015, the Kitten’s Joy colt had been sidelined since an uncharacteristic seventh in the July 4 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1). Not only did he figure to need this race, but he’s never gone as short as a mile, and his deep-closing style was going to be up against it without pace help. Divisidero ran about as well as he possibly could, rattling late to just miss second. Trainer Buff Bradley must be delighted with this very smart performer who will go on to bigger things from here.
Quotes from Gulfstream Park:
Winning trainer Brian Lynch: “He’s done it that way most of his career and (his style) sort of speaks for itself out there. He runs the turn so well, that’s a real asset to him. By the time you get to him, he’s stolen a couple lengths. When you’ve watched him enough and those little ears get to fluttering back and forth, you know he’s traveling nicely. It’s a great combination (with Leparoux) and the two get along together very well. He just knows how much gas is in the tank. The horse has come into himself as a 5-year-old, he’s gotten bigger and stronger.
“I was frightened that maybe the 9-horse (Passion for Action) might show a little speed and go with him, but he didn’t seem to break as well so we inherited the lead. When he went into the turn he was uncontested and you know he’s going to try to gather momentum. He was just full of run down the lane.
“We’re going to step him up a little bit (for the April 15 Maker’s 46 Mile [G1] at Keeneland), it’s a good time of year to have a miler coming into form. Obviously if you can pull off a race like that they’re guaranteed a life somewhere when it’s all said and done — someone will stand him somewhere. These horses do so much and you want to make sure they have the quality of life. Hopefully he’s building a little stud career for himself.”
Sand Springs winner Faufiler has upside, as a lightly-raced 5-year-old in the expert hands of trainer Graham Motion. As you’d expect from a Niarchos Family homebred, she’s got quite a pedigree: by Galileo out of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) heroine Six Perfections, from the family of two-time Breeders’ Cup legend Miesque, the dam of renowned sire Kingmambo.
Previously based in France, Faufiler was a late foal (born May 8) who was brought along patiently by original trainer Pascal Bary. She didn’t race until her 3-year-old season, capping 2014 with a resounding first stakes victory in the Prix Casimir Delamarre. Faufiler picked up in the same vein by capturing the Prix de Montretout in a photo over Royalmania in her 2015 debut. Although she lost her remaining outings, she had some useful form – splitting the males Fractional and Bookrunner when second in the Prix Messidor (G3), third to Fintry and Avenir Certain in the Prix Bertrand du Breuil (G3), and fourth back against males in the Prix Quincey (G3).
Faufiler shipped stateside last fall, but wasn’t herself when only eighth in both the Athenia (G3) and Cardinal (G3). She was a different proposition on Saturday at odds of 12-1.
With new rider Edgar Prado aboard, Faufiler was anchored at the back as a wicked pace unfolded through fractions of :22.71, :45.65 and 1:09.46 (two seconds faster than Heart to Heart). Prado made sure to save ground as long as possible before swinging out for the drive.
The stalking Celestine was the first to overtake the spent pacesetter Daring Kathy at the head of the lane, only to be challenged in turn by 5-2 favorite Partisan Politics. By that point, Faufiler was erupting into the picture wider out and mowed them down in 1:33.01 for the mile.
Partisan Politics wore down Celestine by a half-length for second. Celestine performed with great credit to hang as tough as she did after chasing those fractions.
Faufiler’s resume now reads 12-5-2-2, $215,927.
Quotes from Gulfstream Park:
Winning trainer Graham Motion: “I thought her last race (the November 21 Cardinal) was just a complete disaster. It was a bad night, it rained hard, the turf was very soft, we kind of hustled her out of there to get her in the race and it was just a disaster. I told Edgar today there was no pressure. His idea was to tuck her in and save the ground because you’ve got no shot from the 13-hole saving ground otherwise. When I saw the 45 and change, I felt pretty good.”
Photos courtesy Adam Coglianese Photography.