Gatsby set to defend in Sunshine Sprint

January 12, 2023

Gatsby winning the 2022 edition of the Sunshine Sprint (Ryan Thompson)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Arindel’s Gatsby is back to defend his title in Saturday’s $75,000 Sunshine Sprint at Gulfstream Park, where one of his six rivals will be a stablemate, Michelle and Lawrence Sargent’s Legal Deal.

“We ran them in the same race last year. Gatsby won and Legal Deal ran somewhere in the middle of the field. He needed some time off,” trainer Carlos David said.

The Sunshine Sprint, a six-furlong dash for older Florida-breds, will co-headline Saturday’s card with the $75,000 Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf, a mile turf stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares.

Gatsby has won only once since his Sunshine Sprint win, but the 5-year-old homebred son of Brethren is coming off a sharp effort in the seven-furlong Marion County Florida Sire Stakes, in which he closed resolutely to finish just a half-length behind victorious and multiple stakes-winning stablemate Octane and a head behind graded-stakes winner Willy Boi.

“That was a good performance at Tampa when he finished behind Octane and Willy Boi, who won a graded stake,” David said. “Gatsby prefers three-quarters, I think.”

Legal Deal, who finished fourth in last year’s Sunshine Sprint, enters this year’s running off a brief freshening after finishing first or second in his last four starts, including a narrow loss to next-out winner The Distractor at Gulfstream last time out Nov. 13.

“I gave him a little break and sent him to a friend’s farm near Palm Meadows. We brought him back and he’s feeling really, really good,” David said.

Luis Saez has the call on Gatsby, while Paco Lopez is scheduled to ride Legal Deal.

“They have pretty similar running styles,” David said. “I just tell the guys, ‘Just ride your own race. Try not to bother each other, but you’ve got to ride your own race.’”

The David-trained duo will clash with graded-stakes winner Lightening Larry Saturday. Lea Farms LLC’s 4-year-old son of Uncaptured won the Chic Lang (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard. Lightening Larry is coming off a third-place finish in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Nov. 22.

Jose Morales is scheduled to ride Lightening Larry for the first time.

Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher’s Unsociable will seek his fourth-straight victory while making his first start off the $30,000 claim by trainer Michael Maker. The 4-year-old son of Social Inclusion has finished worse than first or second only once in eight career starts.

Irad Ortiz will ride Unsociable for the first time Saturday.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R.A. Hill, RAP Racing and Chris Mara’s Legends Can’t Die will enter the Sunshine Sprint off a second-place finish in a Gulfstream optional claiming allowance behind Endorsed, who finished fourth in the 2022 Pegasus World Cup (G1).

Trainer George Weaver named Joel Rosario to ride the 4-year-old gelding.

Kenneth Fishbein’s Boca Boy and Stonehedge LLC’s Cajun’s Magic round out the field.

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