HRI Edited GP Press Release — Chance It’s obvious talent wasn’t in question leading up to Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The prospect of the son of Currency Swap carrying his abundant talent around two turns, though, was a subject of debate leading up to the third leg of the series for 2-year-olds sired by nominated Florida stallions.
Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s rising star demonstrated emphatically that he is much more than just a talented sprinter, dominating nine rivals with a 7 1/4 -length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality, which co-headlined Saturday’s 14-program with eight stakes worth $1.325 million with the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies.
Chance It gave trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. his second big- money victory in a week, following up Math Wizard’s upset win in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx last Saturday.
“The other one was unexpected, but this was the important one,” Joseph said. “We had unknown questions as far as if he could go the distance, which we thought he could. But, in racing, they have to do it first before you can become a believer.
“Today he answered all the questions.” Joseph said the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita was “on the radar.”
Chance It was outsprinted for the early lead by Smash Factor, who was making his first start since defeating Saturday’s 1-2 favorite in his June 1 debut at Gulfstream Park.
Smash Factor set fractions of 23.66 and 47.78 second for the first half-mile, pressed by Chance It into the far turn.
Chance It, who relaxed under Tyler Gaffalione while pressing the pace, moved to the lead on the turn into the homestretch and moved away to a very comfortable victory in 1:44.26.
“The horse broke good and put himself right where he needed to be and traveled well throughout the race. He had a ton of confidence going around the second turn and I just let him out a little bit and he finished the job,” said Gaffalione, who traveled from Churchill Downs to ride Chance It for the first time.
“He got to looking around a little bit down the lane, but then he opened up so much on the field. He’s still a young horse and just keeps improving, all the credit goes to Saffie and his team. They do a fabulous job. It has been a heck of a two weeks for him, so I’m incredibly happy and proud for him.”
Smash Factor finished second under Jesus Rios, well ahead of third-place finisher Liam’s Lucky Charm.
After finishing second in his debut, Chance It broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths June 29 while recording the fastest Beyer Speed Figure in the country at the time for a 2-year-old this year (91).
He matched that figure in his next two starts, capturing the first leg of the FSS series in the $100,000 Dr. Fager at six furlongs and finishing second, losing by a head to Liam’s Lucky Charm, in the second leg of the FSS series in the $200,000 Affirmed at seven furlongs.
Chance It, Gaffalione, and Joseph were greeted in the winner’s circle by 45 members of the Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC syndicate managed by longtime thoroughbred Florida trainer Mary Lightner.
Lightner said she wasn’t sure what would be in Chance It’s immediate future. “I don’t know. He’s run five times. He’s a 2-year-old. That’s a lot. I think we’ll see how he comes out of it. Can’t really say yet,” Lightner said.
“I think five races for a 2-year-old is a lot. I know he’s had high Beyer numbers every single time. I think we’ll let him have a little bit of a break and see how he comes out of it.”