Il Miracolo Comes Out Victorious in G3 Ghostzapper

March 30, 2024

Il Miracolo scores by the narrowest of margins in the Ghostzapper (Coglianese)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Alex Andres LLC’s Il Miracolo ($10.60) slipped through along the rail to narrowly prevail in Saturday’s $150,000 Ghostzapper (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The Ghostzapper, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for older horses widely billed as a rubber match between archrivals Tumbarumba and Steal Sunshine, was among 10 stakes, five graded, worth $2.425 million on a 14-race program headlined by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa.

Il Miracolo, a graded-stakes winning 4-year-old son of Gun Runner, was forwardly placed from the start, closely attending the pace set by X Y Point around the first turn and along the backstretch past mediocre fractions of 24.78 and 49.20 seconds. Tumbarumba, who was seeking to avenge a loss to Steal Sunshine in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) after beating that rival in the Fred Hooper (G3), made a three-wide move to the lead entering the far turn under Jose Ortiz and was quickly joined by Il Miracolo to his inside. As X Y Point dropped back, Tumbarumba held the lead at the top of the stretch, but Il Miracolo did not back off under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, fighting back to prevail by neck.

“We had a good trip. We wanted to be close. They slowed it down pretty good, so I tried to make a move on the backstretch. I kind of got head-and-head with the two horses in front, but Jose’s horse kind of put his head in front and it took a little bit to get my horse going again,” Velazquez said. “He had a nice fight down the lane, so I was proud he came back again.”

Antonio Sano-trained Il Miracolo, who finished third behind Steal Sunshine and Tumbarumba in the one-turn Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) March 2, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.79. Tumbarumba, the 2-1 favorite, held second, three-quarters of a length ahead of late rallying Steal Sunshine.

“I tried the horse one mile last time, and he ran good. When he came back, we prepared him to run a long distance, and I was confident in my horse,” Sano said. “Both horses are good horses. It was an excellent race. We’ll keep him around two turns now.”

Il Miracolo is graded stakes-placed in five of his last six starts, including a victory in the Smarty Jones (G3) and a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx.

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