Third Day beat Barry Karafin Bets by a neck in Wednesday’s $60,000 Just One More Stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Third Day, ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, ran one mile in 1:36.96 over the fast main track. It was the second start for Third Day, and his first since July 31 when he won at 5 ½ furlongs on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.
“We were just hoping we had him tight enough to go a mile off the layoff and I thought he handled that part of it well,” Pletcher said. “He’s still learning and still a little green, but considering the layoff and the stretch out in distance I thought it was very encouraging.”
Next up for Third Day, purchased for $575,000 as a 2-year-old in training last March, is a shot in a two-turn Triple Crown prep, Pletcher said. Gulfstream will hold the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) at 1 1/16 miles March 4 and the $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1) at 1 1/8 miles April 1.
“He’ll come back in one of those stakes, we just don’t know which one,” Pletcher said.
Third Day, a son of Bernardini, is owned by Town and Country Racing and Spendthrift Farm.
On Wednesday, Third Day was the even-money favorite in a field of five. Velazquez settled Third Day in fourth to the inside of Barry Karafin Bets as 13-1 long shot Woodrow ran an opening quarter-mile in 24.70 seconds.
Barry Karafin Bets took over the top spot after a half in 47.37 while Velazquez swung outside to launch his bid.
Barry Karafin Bets was still in front as they straightened for home. But Third Day, racing to his outside, steadily gained on the leader before edging away near the wire. Basha, runner-up in the Smooth Air Stakes Dec. 10 at Gulfstream, finished third.
2 -THIRD DAY 4.20 2.60 2.10
3 -BARRY KARAFIN BETS 3.20 2.20
6 -BASHA 2.10
$2 EXACTA 2-3 PAID $11.80; $1 TRIFECTA 2-3-6 PAID $10.70; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 2-3-6-5 PAID $2.82