McKulick Holds on To Win G3 Orchid

March 30, 2024

McKulick victorious in the Orchid (Juliana Colombo/Past The Wire)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Making her first start since the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in November, Klaravich Stables’ 5-year-old McKulick prevailed by half-length over Surprisingly to win the 1 ½-mile Orchid (G3).

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., McKulick ($4.20) was rated in mid-pack, several lengths behind frontrunner Viva La Red, before launching a bid in the final turn and holding off Surprisingly’s late rally.

“She waited for me, I let her do her thing, and by the half mile she was pretty good and kept going to the wire,” Ortiz said.

It was another 1 ¼ lengths back to La Mehana for third.

McKulick, trained by Chad Brown, was making her first start since a last-place finish in her season-ending race of 2023, the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

“The timing was good,” Brown said. “I like that Gulfstream has this race right here on this big Florida Derby weekend. It’s a good launching pad for some good races that I have ahead for her.”

With Saturday’s victory in the 60th running of the Orchid, the daughter of Frankel improved to six wins in 15 career races while raising her lifetime earnings total to more than $1.7 million.

$150,000 Orchid (G3) presented by Army Mule Quotes

Trainer Chad Brown (McKulick): “Mary McKulick was my first employee and helped me build the company. We lost her a few years back. Mr. [Seth] Klarman was nice enough to name one of our good horses after her. She just keeps going on and developing in her career. She’s a real fine racehorse.”

“The timing was good. I like that Gulfstream has this race right here on this big Florida Derby weekend. It’s a good launching pad for some good races that I have ahead for her.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (McKulick): “I had a beautiful trip. She broke good. I helped her out of there to get good position. I dropped in a little with a couple of horses outside of me. I took my time and saved some ground and she relaxed. She waited for me and I let her do her thing by the half a mile and she was pretty good and kept going to the wire.”

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