Juddmonte’s rapidly-improving homebred Fulsome collected his second straight stakes win as he overcame a sluggish start and rallied to defeat Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher O Besos by 3 ¾ lengths in the 24th running of the $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs on May 29.
Fulsome clocked 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:42.88 under Florent Geroux, who rode the winner for trainer Brad Cox.
Fulsome broke slow in the field of seven and was rated in last down the backstretch as Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium dictated the terms through fractions of :23.75, :48.69 and 1:13.26. O Besos tracked from fourth and pulled himself into contention with the leader around the final turn. When O Besos made his move, Fulsome quickly followed from the outside. The two appeared to be poised for a competitive stretch run but when they passed the final furlong marker together Fulsome took off and drew well clear for the win.
“I was pretty confident he could take some dirt in his face and got him to relax early,” Geroux said. “I was just hoping they were going fast up front after the slow break. He was able to go past those horses easily to win.”
The victory was worth $91,140 and improved Fulsome’s overall record to 7-4-1-0—$373,854. The 3-year-old is now perfect in three starts on dirt after running on turf in the first four starts of his career. Previously, Fulsome won the $300,000 Oaklawn Stakes in Arkansas on May 1 by 1 ¼ lengths.
“He had two solid works here at Churchill after winning the Oaklawn Stakes,” Cox said. “We were very confident in him by the way he was training. He got off a step slow but he really finished up fast today and was impressive doing so.”
Fulsome returned $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40 as the 8-5 favorite. O Besos, ridden by Marcelino Pedroza Jr., returned $3 and $2.40 as the 9-5 second choice and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Helium who paid $2.60 to show at odds of 5-2 under Julien Leparoux. Southern Passage was another half-length back in fourth.
Fulsome, a son of Into Mischief out of the Distorted Humor mare Flourish, was bred in Kentucky by his owners.
MATT WINN QUOTES
Florent Geroux, jockey of FULSOME (winner): “I was pretty confident he could take some dirt in his face and got him to relax early. I was just hoping they were going fast up front after the slow break. He was able to go past those horses easily to win.”
Brad Cox, trainer of FULSOME (winner): “He had two solid works here at Churchill after winning the OaklawnStakes. We were very confident in him by the way he was training. He got off a step slow but he really finished up fast today and was impressive doing so.”
Marcelino Pedroza, jockey of O BESOS(runner-up): “He was moving pretty well up the backstretch and (SittinOn Go) got pretty rank and got to the inside of us. He was moving on his own around the turn.”
Gam’s Mission Wins Grade 3 Regret Stakes
Lazy F Ranch’s homebred Gam’s Mission rallied to defeat favored Spanish Loveaffair by three-quarters of a length in Saturday’s 52nd running of the $150,000 Regret Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Cherie DeVaux and ridden by Adam Beschizza, Gam’s Mission covered the 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course rated “good” in 1:51.02.
In the early stages of the race, Gam’s Mission’s stablemate Postnup and Spanish Loveaffair led the field of eight 3-year-old fillies through opening fractions of :24.55 and :49.56 with Gam’s Mission rating in fifth. Spanish Loveaffair put away Postnup on the final turn after six furlongs in 1:14.27. In the stretch, Flown drew even with Spanish Loveaffair as Gam’s Mission ranged into contention from the outside with a furlong to run. The eventual winner caught Spanish Loveaffair with her resolute rally inside the final yards and edged clear late.
“I was pretty confident with her stepping up to this distance,” Beschizza said. “She seems to have a very nice kick. Since she broke her maiden she’s really started to put things together. We didn’t go quite fast but the pace was a little testing.”
Gam’s Mission, the 6-1 fourth betting choice, rewarded her backers with payouts of $14.20, $5.80 and $3.80. Spanish Loveaffair, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $3.40 and $2.40 and Flown, under Ricardo Santana Jr., paid $3.
With her victory worth $90,210 in the Regret, Gam’s Mission boosted her career earnings to $201,258 from a record of 3-1-0 in four starts.
Gam’s Mission is a daughter of Noble Mission (GB) out of the War Pass mare Auntie Martha and was bred in Kentucky by her owner Cornelia G. Corbett, who races as Lazy F Ranch.
Adam Beschizza, jockey of GAM’S MISSION (winner): “I was pretty confident with her stepping up to this distance. She seems to have a very nice kick. Since she broke her maiden she’s really started to put things together. We didn’t go quite fast but the pace was a little testing.”
Cherie DeVaux, trainer of GAM’S MISSION (winner): “I’m very pleased with her effort today. Adam had her in a really good position throughout. She was a little green coming up the stretch but she’s lightly raced and still figuring it out. The Triple Tiara (in New York) is definitely on the table; it would be great to go compete in that.”