• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America
Gulfstream Park (May 9): Sunshine Forever Stakes (black type) $75,000, 1m½f, turf, 4yo+
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez
Owner: Harrell Ventures LLC
Pedigree: 4yo gr/r c War Front – High Tap (Tapit)
Even without Preakness Stakes winner War Of Will, who was re-routed to the G1 Shoemaker Mike, Saturday’s Sunshine Forever looked a really competitive race for the status. Or lack thereof.
Tropical Park Derby winner Halladay certainly looked a graded-stakes performer with a noteworthy display of speed as the four-year-old scored by a length and a quarter as 13-10 favourite.
A specialist at Gulfstream, he had registered a 101 Beyer for his previous victory on the Florida Derby undercard a month ago. This time he went one point better with 102 as he extended his unbeaten record to three at the track.
As is so often the case for high Beyer numbers, Halladay was able to seize control early on before making the pace on his own. And a swift pace it was too – fractions of 23.71s and 47s dead – on the way to a final time of 1m38.66s, just over a half-second shy off Inchcape’s 2015 track record.
“Especially off a 47 half, that was really motoring late,” said trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He got to a good spot, settled nicely and relaxed. It really seems like he’s getting better and better.”
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