Photo Credit: Ryan Thompson
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Paradise Farms Corp.’s Bemma’s Boy surged late to upset heavily favored stablemate Zulu Alpha in Saturday’s $200,000 Kitten’s Joy Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park at Gulfstream Park.
The 59th running of the Pan American, a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for 4-year-olds and up, was one of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.825 million, on a 14-race program that was headlined by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1).
The Michael Maker-trained Bemma’s Boy ($20.40) saved ground while rating nicely behind pacesetter Spooky Channel, who was closely stalked by Current past fractions of 24.09 and 48.56 seconds for the half-mile and 1:13.64 for six furlongs. Spooking Channel continued to show the way heading into the far turn as Maker-trained Zulu Alpha, the 3-5 favorite ridden by Tyler Gaffalione made a five wide move into contention. Current scooted past tiring Spooking Channel to take the lead at the top of the stretch with Zulu Alpha looming to his outside. Current and Zulu Alpha battled through the stretch but were beaten to the finish line by Bemma’s Boy, who found room at the top of the stretch to leave the rail and produced a furiously late kick to eke out victory.
Zulu Alpha, who captured the Jan. 25 $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and the Feb. 29 Mac Diarmida (G3) at Gulfstream in his two prior starts, finished second, a nose ahead of Current and jockey Manuel Franco.
Bemma’s Boy ran the 1 ½ distance over a firm turf course in 2:24.91 to record his first stakes victory in 18 career starts.
“I got a great trip. I drew a nice post and was able to sit third and save all the ground,” Geroux said. “My horse ran a great race and finished nicely down the lane.”
Bemma’s Boy was claimed for $30,000 out of a distant sixth-place finish at Churchill Downs in May 2019. The 5-year-old gelding won two of his next four starts before finishing fourth in the River City Handicap (G3) at Churchill Nov. 16. In his most recent start, he finished close second in the 1 ½-mile John B. Connelly (G3) at Sam Houston in his 2020 debut Feb. 26.