By Jim Freer
You might coin the word "homestaying" for Bodexpress's win in Saturday's feature race on the Calder track at the Gulfstream Park West meet.
Bodexpress led at every call and pulled away to beat Identifier by 11 1/4 lengths in near track record time in the 1 1/16 mile dirt race.
The race was a $62,500 optional claimer with a $44,000 purse. None of the six entrants were in for a tag.
Trainer and part-owner Gustavo Delgado Sr. used the race to prep the 4-year-old Bodexpress for upcoming stakes races. He is best known for finishing second to Maximum Security in the 2019 Florida Derby (Grade 1) at Gulfstream Park.
With Emisael Jaramillo riding, Bodexpress won in 1:42.53 on the track listed as Fast--just off the track record 1:42,52 that Mr. Jordan set in wining the Millions Classic Preview on Nov. 12, 2016.
Bodexpress is stabled with Delgado, and he trains on the Calder track when he isn't traveling around the country to race in graded stakes.
But the 4-year-old son of Bodemeister has raced only three times at Calder/GP West--winning all three.
Those were Bodexpress's only wins in 16 career starts. He also has four second place finishes and three third place finishes.
Delgado's GDS Stable owns Bodexpress in a partnership with Top Racing LLC and Global Thoroughbed LLC.
Identifier, Saturday's race was a rematch of the Hal's Hope (Grade 3) at 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Gulfstream on March 28.
Identifier, at 60-1, won the Hals' Hope by one length over Just Whistle and another half length over Bodexpress.
Bodexpress faced several challengers in the Hal's Hope before seeming to take command early in the stretch. But he was run down by Identifier and Just Whistle, who was not in Saturday's race.
This time, Bodexpress pulled away in the stretch and Jaramillo had him in hand while nearing the finish line.
Glory of Florida finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Identifier. Bodexpress was the 2-5 favorite. Identifier was sent out at 5-1 and Glory of Florida was 21-1.
The 3-2 exacta paid $9.60 for $2 and trhe 3-2-5 trifecta paid $39.60 for $2.
Bodexpress has provided some anxious moments for his connections while away from Gulfstream Park West while also showing flashes of unfulfilled potential.
Bodexpress finished second as a maiden behind Maximum Security in the 2019 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream to earn a start in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (Grade 1). He finished 14th after a rough journey.
In the Preakness (Grade 1), he unseated jockey John Velazquez when he reared in the starting gate and led the outriders on a merry chase during the race.
Delgado said he will point Bodexpress to stakes races during Gulfstream's 2020-2021 championship meet, including the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (Grade 1) on Jan. 23. The Clark (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27 also is a possibility, Delgado Sr. said.
"We'll keep him happy and healthy. He'll win one of the big ones," said assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr.