Bravo Gives Cabo Spirit Confident Ride for GII Twilight Derby Win

October 29, 2022

Photo by Benoit

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.—As he’s done thousands of times throughout an incredible career, Joe Bravo again made the last run in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita, as he surged in the shadow of the wire to collar favored Speaking Scout and win by a half-length. 

Trained by George Papaprodromou, Cabo Spirit, a 3-year-old gelding by Pioneerof the Nile, got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:49.46.

“I was getting kind of worried, the way they were going kind of slow like that. Joe had him in the right spot and I was confident, he was travelling well up the backside and turning for home I was a little worried but luckily, they opened up for him and he won from there,” Papaprodromou said. 

“Last time there was no pace for him and that I think made him fall back, but he made a big run, went wide and that cost him a little bit, but today everything went perfect. I was concerned with the fractions, going that slow but we got it done.

“I think probably the Hollywood Derby is next. To my man Rustin, Happy Birthday boss!”

With longshot Go Joe Won setting leisurely early fractions, Bravo saved ground while sixth, about three lengths off the lead a half mile out. Into the bridle, Cabo Spirit bided his time behind a three-horse spread and then found a seam four-deep three sixteenth of a mile from home and was fully extended to get up in time.

“Cabo laid a little bit closer to the pace today than he usually does. If you know him, he’s kind of a laid-back horse who sits back and then it’s go get ‘em. I got a message in the Paddock that it was the owners’ birthday, so we had to pull it off. Birthday candles for everybody!” Bravo cheerfully said.

“I’ve rode this horse a few times, so you get the personality and get to know the animal. George just did such an amazing job bringing him around. This horse has some issues and all he has done is get better and better since the gelding took effect.

“I was really proud of the guy. I knew he was training coming into the race. He had me worried because we were lagging so close to pace early on, and I guess the times explain why he was laying so close to pace. This is a horse that we really had high hopes on early on. Today you can see how focused he was. From the eighth pole to the wire, he really bellied out, and you see what he did from there,” Bravo continued.

Owned by Kretz Racing, LLC, Cabo Spirit, who finished well when fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths in the Grade II Del Mar Derby Sept. 3, was off at 5-2 in a field of eight and paid $7.40, $3.60 and $2.80.

A winner of the Grade III La Jolla Handicap two starts back, Cabo Spirit, who is out of the Shamardal mare Fancy Day, now has three overall stakes wins, all on turf. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $438,560 while running his overall mark to 15-4-

Speaking Scout, who got a perfect stalking trip under Juan Hernandez, made the lead leaving the furlong marker and was second best on the day. Off as the 2-1 favorite, he paid $4.40 and $3.00.

Perfect Flight, who was lapped on the pacesetter turning for home, couldn’t go with the top two late and prevailed by a nose for third money over Go Joe Won. Off at 4-1 with Ramon Vazquez, Perfect Flight paid $3.60 to show.

The solid favorite at 2-1 with four minutes to post, War at Sea was a veterinary scratch.

Fractions on the race were 25.07, 49.89, 1:14.68 and 1:38.25.

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