Game Change Upsets Pletcher Pair in Wednesday Feature

February 2, 2023

Game Change (#1 right green cap) charges to a win under Tyler Gaffalione ahead of Tshiebwe (#2 center white cap) and Expect More (#3 left orange cap) in the Wednesday Feature. (Ryan Thompson)

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $50,000
• Promising Turf Sprinters Assemble for Thursday Feature

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Joseph Allen LLC’s Game Change registered a 7-1 upset over a favored pair of Todd Pletcher-trained rivals Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, prevailing by 3 ¼ lengths in the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds.

Shug McGaughey-trained Game Change, who saved ground while tracking Pletcher-trained pacesetter Tshiebwe, cut the corner into the stretch and responded to strong urging from jockey Tyler Gaffalione to break his maiden in his fourth career start.

“His races have gotten a little better each time,” McGaughey said of the late-developing son of Candy Ride. “The first time I ran him at Saratoga I was shocked at how bad he ran. He’s progressing. We’ve learned more about him. Tyler rode a great race today, kept him in contention from the 1 Post, stayed on the rail, cut the corner, and he finished up good.”

Tshiebwe held second, holding off a bid by Pletcher stablemate Expect More, whose gate issues continued Wednesday, when he broke very slowly and several lengths behind the field. Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Expect More, the 1-2 favorite who had been disqualified from first in his prior start, was hustled by Irad Ortiz Jr. to join the field heading into the first turn. The son of More Than Ready rated well off the pace before being sent after the leaders leaving the backstretch. He made a sustained run before flattening out in deep stretch to finish a neck behind Tshiebwe.

Game Change ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.73.

“I think he’s putting it all together. How good he is on the dirt, I don’t know,” McGaughey said. “He’s a big grand looking horse. He trains really well. That’s why I’ve been really disappointed in some of his races.”

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $50,000

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $50,000 Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

The popular multi-race wager went unsolved Wednesday on the first racing day following last Sunday’s mandatory payout of an $828,941.81 carryover pool that generated a Rainbow 6 handle of $6,265,823. Multiple winning tickets were each worth $6,086.16.

On mandatory payout days, the entire Rainbow 6 jackpot pool is paid out to the bettor or bettors with the most winners in the wager’s six-race sequence. The carryover jackpot is usually only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool usually goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, featuring several up-and-coming turf sprinters in Race 9, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds.

St. Elias Stable and Repole Stable’s Morethanreadyeddie, a sharp debut winner in an off-the-turf debut at Belmont in June, is scheduled to make his turf debut. Luis Saez is named to ride the son of More Than Ready, who is trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.

Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s Dr Oseran, who capture an off-the-turf sprint to break his maiden at Gulfstream last time out, will be saddled by Christophe Clement. The son of Kitten’s Joy finished second on turf in his career debut at Belmont in July. Clement will also be represented by Bakster Farm LLC’s Ship the Goods, who won his debut in December on Tampa Bay Downs’ main track.

Who’s Hot: Trainer Kelly Breen and jockey Paco Lopez teamed for back-to-back victories on Wednesday’s program, scoring with Stealththirtyfour ($4.40) in Race 2 and Mercury Head ($7.20) in Race 3.

Tyler Gaffalione doubled aboard Game Change ($16.80) in Race 7 and Big and Classy ($9.80) in Race 9.

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