• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America
Gulfstream Park (March 28): Sir Shackleton Stakes (Listed) $75,000, 7f, dirt, 4yo+
Trainer: George Weaver
Jockey: Manny Franco
Owner: RA Hill and Gatsas Stable
Pedigree: 4yo ch c Candy Ride – Mona Da Momma (Speightstown)
As a G2 winner last seen in the Kentucky Derby, Vekoma was the obvious class horse in the race as he was sent off 8-5 favourite for his four-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park.
That said, there were obvious questions after nearly 11 months on the sidelines, while the 7f trip looked short of his optimum.
Such concerns looked well founded when, after a decent break, last year’s Blue Grass Stakes winner dropped off fast splits and looked in trouble on the far turn.
In the end, though, superior stamina kicked in as he challenged three wide in the stretch before pulling away for a decisive 3¾-length score over Yorkton that left trainer George Weaver dreaming of future G1 targets. Final time of 1m21.92s produced a career-best Beyer of 102.
Elsewhere on the card, Tiz The Law’s Florida Derby triumph resulted in a 96 on the Beyer scale.
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