Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 3-year-old Dunkirk made headlines before he ever started as a $3.7 million Keeneland September yearling purchase, but he’s making them on the track now after drawing off to an explosive 4¾-length victory in Thursday’s eighth race allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

With jockey Garrett Gomez flying in from California for the mount, Dunkirk broke well enough in the 1 1/8-mile test but was carried very wide in the first turn. However, the roan/gray colt by Unbridled’s Song moved up steadily down the backstretch and took command with authority in the stretch while drawing clear from A. Steven Miles Jr.’s Warrior’s Reward second in the field of 10 3-year-olds.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Dunkirk paid $4.40 as the solid favorite and was timed in 1:50:15 over the ‘fast’ track as he posted his second victory in as many starts. Korina Stable’s 45-1 longshot Sincero checked in third, 1¾ lengths behind the runner-up and two lengths before Delfiner Partners’ More Than Willing in fourth.


Winning Jockey Quotes

Garrett Gomez:

“I got pushed wide on the (first) turn, but when I asked him he was super. That’s the way a special horse responds. He did what I asked of him and pulled us out of a little trouble. I wouldn’t say I was confident (before race). I didn’t know much about him coming in, but when you’re working with a horse like this, you’re going to look pretty good most of the time.”


Winning Trainer Quote

Todd Pletcher:

“I’m very pleased with the way he ran. It was a lot to ask to go from one seven-eighths race to a mile-and-an-eighth against a stakes quality field, and then he got carried very wide in the first turn. But he overcame it all with no problem. Right now, I’d say it’s most likely that he won’t run before going straight into the Florida Derby (Mar. 28). He’s here and he’s two-for-two over the track. That would be my first choice right now.”

Fractions:

23:55, 47:39, 1:11:70, 1:37:06 & 1:50:15