PAN AMERICAN STAKES | PURSE: $200,00 | 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | GRADE 2 | 1 1/2-MILES (TURF)
Newsdad, making just his second start in the past year, closed with authority to nip outsider Vertiformer at the wire in the $200,000 Pan American Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park March 29.
James S. Karp's Kentucky homebred son of Arch , the less fancied of two runners for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, has started just once since finishing third in last year's Pan American. The classy stayer, going against the grain over a speed-favoring turf course, charged from last with a half mile to run to defeat an unlucky Vertiformer by a neck while getting the 1 1/2-mile distance in a superb time of 2:22.77 over firm going.
The clocking was just off the track mark of 2:22.63 established last year in the Pan American by Twilight Eclipse.
Joel Rosario took over the mount on 5-1 shot Newsdad from Mike Smith, who competed at Fair Grounds Saturday, drove Newsdad to victory down the center of the course. Vertiformer, looking for room while racing just behind the leading group, squeezed through along the inside in deep stretch and just missed. Slumber, the Mott-trained 2-1 favorite for Juddmonte, finished third in the field of 10 older turf performers.
Joes Blazing Aaron, off at 22-1, showed the way into the stretch over Joha and Russian Greek and shook loose briefly after posting fractions of :24.03, :47.50, 1:12.29, and 1:36.18 for the opening mile. But the leaders at that point all fell back as the closers came on late.
Newsdad was still last at that point but would up his charge rounding the final bend as the leaders reached the quarter pole in 1:59.30, and stayed wide through the lane to get the lead in the final strides. He then held off a determined Vertiformer, ridden by Joe Bravo. It was half a length back to Slumber, who also closed with interest for John Velazquez while edging Joes Blazing Aaron for the show.
Joes Blazing Aaron was followed by Charming Kitten, Joha, Admiral Kitten, Suntracer, Ocean Seven, and Russian Greek.
Newsdad, out of the Pulpit mare Storm Tracer, returned from an absence of more than 11 months to post a lackluster seventh in an allowance/optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on the Gulfstream turf March 1. The dark bay horse won the 2012 Pan American by two lengths and also took that fall's Fayatte Stakes on the Keeneland lawn.
His sixth win from 23 lifetime starts boosted Newsdad's career earnings to $619,085.
Under equal weights of 117 pounds, Newsdad paid $12.60, $7.40, and $5 as the third choice. Vertiformer returned $10 and $5.80 as part of a $147.40 exacta. The Briitsh-bred Slumber paid $3.20.
Morning line pick Amira's Prince was scratched after running second as the favorite in the Marvin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots earlier in the day.