By Gulfstream Park Press Staff — Trainer Antonio Sano started making plans for the upcoming Saratoga Race Course meet after saddling his fourth 2-year-old winner of the Spring Meet at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The popular Venezuela native has been particularly impressed with Papetu, a five-length winner in his Saturday debut, and Hara, a filly who also graduated with a five-length victory Friday.
“The two horses are the best horses in my barn,” said Sano, who has saddled 21 winners, five fewer than leading trainer Todd Pletcher, during the Spring Meet. “I’m going to send Papetu and Hara to Saratoga.”
Papetu was always in control over his nine rivals under Leonel Reyes. Purchased by Magic Stables LLC for $80,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale, Papetu is by Dialed In, the sire of Sano-trained multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera.
The first-out win hardly surprised his trainer, but the manner in which he dismissed his rivals was a bit of a revelation.
“I expected him to come from behind and close. The race came up different. It was a surprise to me,” Sano said. “He is a good horse. I told the owner that this was a very good horse.”
A day earlier, Sano sent out Hara, who scored a dominating front-running triumph in a 5 ½-furlong dash for fillies. The daughter of Hard Spun, who is owned by Briannjenn Racing LLC, was purchased for $30,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale.
Sano has enjoyed success in the past while sending promising 2-year-olds from South Florida to Saratoga, most notably with Gunnevera, who scored his first graded-stakes victory in the 2016 Saratoga Special (G2) on his way to earning $5.5 million.
Earlier in the meet, Sano saddled Swaggy George, a son of Not This Time, for a four-length triumph in a five-furlong maiden special weight race taken off the turf.
The Sano-trained Espia, a son of Creative Cause who finished third behind Swaggy George, came right back to capture a 5-furlong maiden special weight event on turf.