Make It Big Captures the Ocala Stud Juvenile Sprint

October 31, 2021

 Lemieux Runs Away from Field in Brethren Juvenile Fillies

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Red Oak Stable’s Make It Big overcame a slow start and traffic to capture Saturday’s $60,000 Ocala Stud Juvenile Sprint, capping a four-win day for both trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and jockey Edgard Zayas at Gulfstream Park.

In addition, Make It Big, the 4-5 favorite in the seven-furlong sprint for Florida-bred 2-year-olds, was Joseph’s 12th winner from his last 21 starters, including two winners at Belmont Park and one at Keeneland.

“Racing is a streaky game. We had a slow Saratoga. It was our first year in New York and we won two Grade 1s, two Grade 3s, and then you go through a slow Saratoga and people like to forget. It’s amazing how people can throw you away so quick, and then want you when you get hot,” said Joseph, who also won Saturday’s Hudson Handicap at Belmont with Ny Traffic. “You just try to stay steady and try to overcome. You’re always going to hit hot spells and you’re always going to hit slow spells. My job is to keep the team together, so that when we’re down, we keep our heads together. It’s always going to level out at the end of the year. You’re never going to win a 40 or 30 percent consistently. You’re always going to level out and be at 21, 22 [percent]. It’s going to go through spells, and you just try and get through them.”

Prior to scoring with Make It Big, Joseph and Zayas teamed for victories with Sister Lou Ann ($4) in Race 3, Jeha ($9.80) in Race 4 and Fate of Ophelia ($17.40) in Race 7.

“Edgard rides a lot for us, and he rides a good race,” Joseph said. “He’s a big part of the team.”

Make It Big, who was coming off an 8 ½-length front-running debut victory at Gulfstream three weeks ago, broke a step slowly from his rail post position before assuming a stalking position along the rail behind pacesetter Just Leo, a full brother to multiple graded-stakes winner Firenze Fire, along the backstretch and into the far turn. Just Leo, who set half-mile fractions of 23.08 and 46.31 seconds, tired on the turn into the homestretch as Lightening Larry made a three-wide sweep to the lead entering the stretch with Make It Big still trapped behind horses.         

Lightening Larry kicked in through the stretch under Romero Maragh but was unable to hold off Make It Big, who launched an outside rally after Zayas finally found running room at the top of the stretch.

“Last time he broke on the lead, and I didn’t expect him to be on the lead. Today was much different,” Joseph said. “He broke; he was behind; he had a tough trip; and he was able to overcome it. I think he’s a horse that’s going to progress. As the distances get longer, I think he’s going to get better.”

Make It Big, a son of Neolithic, ran seven furlongs in 1:25. Lightening Larry held second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Clapton.

Lemieux Runs Away from Field in Brethren Juvenile Fillies

D J Stable’s Lemieux, a 2-year-old daughter of 2016 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, broke alertly from the gate, turned back some early pressure and opened up through the stretch to earn her first stakes victory Saturday’s $60,000 Brethren Juvenile Fillies at Gulfstream Park.

Ridden by Edwin Gonzalez for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, even-money favorite Lemieux ($4.20) ran one mile and 70 yards in 1:43.16 over the Tapeta. It was Gonzalez’s ninth win over Gulfstream’s newly installed all-weather surface, five of them coming for Casse.

Bred in Florida and sold for $100,000 as a yearling last fall at Keeneland, Lemieux was making her fifth career start and first since finishing off the board in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas (G3) Sept. 18 at Churchill Downs. She had run first or second in her prior three runs, including a four-length maiden special weight triumph Aug. 18 at Saratoga.

Lemieux established command right from the gate and coasted through a quarter-mile in 24.06 seconds, chased by Brittiz and jockey Edgard Zayas. Brittiz turned up the pressure on the turn, drawing alongside the leader following a half in 48.28, but began to drop back as Lemieux approached the stretch in front and steadily drew clear to win by 6 ½ lengths.

Casse-trained stablemate Fish Mooney made a late run to get second over Brittiz, followed by Runaway Breeze, Yes I’m Spiteful, Straight to Go and Science Fiction.

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Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Make It Big ( Lauren King Photo)

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