Vegso Racing Stable’s Rizwan captured his stakes debut in Saturday’s $75,000 English Channel Stakes at Gulfstream Park, notching his fourth straight turf victory.
The 3-year-old son of Silver Tree, named after the Indian “Guardian to the Gates of Paradise,” received a ground-saving trip in the 1 1/16-mile event under Jose Caraballo. The chestnut with the wide blaze sat in fourth early as even-money favorite Moon Over Cuzco and 25-1 long shot Twotwentyfive A set fractions of 23.08 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.18 seconds for the half. As the field reached the top of the stretch, Caraballo swung Rizwan from the rail to the five-path to launch his bid, but immediately upon taking the lead, the colt was met by maiden winner Comanche’s Storm. The two ran through the lane together, separating themselves from the rest of the field, but Rizwan had the advantage at the wire. The Phil Gleaves trainee scored by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:40.46.
“It was great,” Gleaves said. “I think Jose rode a super race. We discussed it before the race that there was some speed in the race, and we were going to try to get him switched off, and he did a great job of that, sitting in fourth along the inside. The horse was totally relaxed, he swung him out for the drive, and we know this horse loves a dog fight, so when they turned for home, I knew he was going to be tough to get by.”
Gleaves, who also campaigned Rizwan’s dam Entertaining, said his goal is to point Rizwan to the $450,000 Florida Sire Stakes 3-year-old series, set to be held at Gulfstream this summer from August to October.
“He’s eligible for these Florida races, so we’ll probably point for those, and we’ll see how he goes. He can run on grass or dirt, so we’ll see what happens.”
Rizwan returned $15.00 to win, while Comanche’s Storm paid $5.80 to place. Persuasive finished third, returning $5.00 to show.
Red Sashay Outduels Miss Margaret in $75,000 Honey Ryder
The close finishes continued in the $75,000 Honey Ryder Stakes, as Red Sashay topped a field of seven to secure the second stakes victory of her six-race career.
Trained by Jane Cibelli and ridden by Jonathan Gonzales, Red Sashay, fifth in the early stages of the race, displayed a swift turn of foot in the stretch to run down the graded stakes-placed Lismore before then turning away a late challenge from the multiple stakes-placed Miss Margaret to prevail by a neck. The victory was the daughter of Big Brown’s first since capturing last October’s Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.
“I spoke with the trainer this morning, because she is out of town, and she just told me to keep her relaxed early,” Gonzales said. “When I swung her out at the top of the stretch, she passed everybody.”
Red Sashay’s mile was timed in 1:37.16; the Goodwood Racing V color bearer paid $18.20 to win. Miss Margaret returned $8.00 to place, while Lismore paid $3.00 to show.