Golden Glider Noses Win In Tropical Park Derby

December 27, 2022

Golden Glider (#3 outside black cap) with Jose Morelos up in a four-way battle with Steady On (orange cap), Dakota Gold (on the rail) and Fort Washington (#7) in the Tropical Park Derby. (Laurel King/Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photos)

Candy Light rallies for win in $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – While it wasn’t the Kentucky Derby his connections dreamed about earlier in the year, it was a Derby, nonetheless – the last Derby of 2022.

Golden Glider made it a winning one, prevailing by a nose over Steady On in a four-horse photo finish that highlighted the opening day card of Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet.

“Wish it was the Kentucky Derby,” said Nick Tomlinson, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse. “But we’re happy with this one.”

The 1 1/16-mile stakes, originally scheduled for the turf, was switched to the Tapeta course due to the unseasonably chilly and wet conditions that have prevailed in South Florida the past several days.

That didn’t deter Golden Glider, who was coming off a five-month layoff but received a nice ride by jockey Jose Morelos to barely overtake Steady On at the wire. It was a neck further back to Fort Washington and Dakota Gold, who finished in a dead heat for third.

“Jose gave him a phenomenal ride,” Tomlinson said.

Golden Glider was on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier in the year, finishing fourth in both the Tampa Derby (G2) and Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

“We were looking to get into the (Kentucky) Derby, but obviously it didn’t pan out,” Tomlinson said.

Instead of making the trip to Louisville, Golden Glider was re-directed to New York, where he ran second in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) and eighth in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Not only did Golden Glider receive a five-month breather, but he was also gelded during the break.

“He had a tough campaign,” Tomlinson said. “We took him home and gave him some time off.”

Casse said the plan now is to “try him on grass.”

Candy Light sails to the finish. (Laurel King/Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photos)

Candy Light rallies for win in $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks

Fortune Racing’s Candy Light rallied from the back of the pack to prevail in the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks in what was the first stakes of the Championship Meet.

Due to the inclement weather, the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies was moved from the turf course to the Tapeta track. But it proved to be no issue for Candy Light in capturing her first career stakes win.

“Last year, I thought some of my horses didn’t handle it like I thought they would,” winning trainer Graham Motion said of the synthetic surface. “Obviously, we train on it at Fair Hill. But it’s a different type, so there’s always a question.”

Motion said he was mildly concerned when Candy Light had only one horse beaten in the field of eight with three furlongs left. But jockey Jose Ortiz got her into gear, swung to the outside, and surged home first, a length in front of Surprisingly.

It was another ¾-length back to third-place finisher, Personal Best, the 8-5 favorite.

“I said to Jose that it looked like she was struggling a little bit,” Motion said. “But he said horses just take a little longer to get going on the Tapeta.”

The Tropical Park Oaks marked the filly’s ninth start over the past 12 months, and Motion said he planned to give her a break by sending her to Ocala for a couple of months.

“I think she’s a superior turf horse,” Motion said. “She’s strung together three pretty good races now, so we’re going to give her a break on the farm.”

@jonathanstettin @EliteRacingNet Way To Go, outstanding Handicapping!

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