HorseracingFLA Staff Report
Lochte added to his stellar record in Florida turf stakes on Sunday with a 3 ¾ length victory over Morning Calm in the $75,000 Spider John Stakes at the Gulfstream Park West meet.
Lochte, the 3-5 favorite, was ridden by Matt Rispoli and won the 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds and up in 1:51.74. The course was listed as firm even though it was slightly dampened by light rain that fell earlier in the afternoon.
The win was the fifth in nine turf stakes at Florida tracks for Lochte, who is trained by Marcus Vitali and owned by Crossed Sabres Farm.
It came as Valid, his Crossed Sabres-Vitali stablemate, is being prepared to run in Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
Three of Lochte’s stakes wins were at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach and one was at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar.
Sunday’s win was Lochte’s first in a stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami Gardens. For the second consecutive October-November, Gulfstream is holding its GP West meet at Calder under a lease with that track.
In the Spider John, Lochte broke from the outside and settled in third as Slim Shadey took the field through slow early fractions of 25.92 seconds for a quarter-mile and 52.00 for the half.
Racing three wide, Lochte began to move up rounding the far turn and met little resistance in assuming the lead as Slim Shadey began to drop back. Lochte separated from the field down the stretch under a hand ride from Rispoli.
Morning Calm came on to be second, followed by Hampstead Heath, Good and Proper, Slim Shadey and Zane in the six-horse field .
“Today it just seemed like he took hold of the wet turf really well,” Vitali said. “He accelerated when Matt asked him to and he did everything as expected.”
Lochte came into the Spider John off a win in the
Mr. Steele Stakes at one mile on turf at Gulfstream on Sept. 27.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro has eight victories and $695,212 in earnings from 31 lifetime starts.
During the summer months, Lochte regularly races at tracks in northeastern states. He is among horses that Vitali has stabled at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., during that track’s meets.
Lochte’s biggest wins were in last year’s Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Grade 1) and this year’s Tampa Bay Stakes (Grade 3).
Lochte’s win in the Spider John was the eighth for meet-leader Vitali at the GP West meet. Antonio Sano is in second place with six wins.
Valid to Breeders’ Cup
Vitali hopes Lochte’s victory is a good omen for Valid.
“Valid is up there and he’s doing excellent,” Vitali said. “I’ll be flying out Tuesday and let’s hope for the best.”
Valid, like Lochte, is a 5-tear-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro.
Valid has three wins in ten starts this year. The victories were in stakes: the Fred W. Hooper (Grade 3) at one mile at Gulfstream; the Groomstick at seven furlongs at Gulfstream; and the Philip Iselin (Grade 3) at one mile at Monmouth Park.
Valid probably will be at 10-1 or higher in the Dirt Mile. Lea, Liam’s Map and Appealing Tale are the likely favorites.
Lochte Wins at GP West for Vitali-Crossed Sabres