No Nay Hudson skips to victory for trainer Wesley Ward. (Lauren King)
$91,522.11 Carryover for Saturday’s Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout
David Joseph/Gulfstream Park
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – No Nay Hudson skipped over Gulfstream Park’s new turf course Friday to overtake multiple graded-stakes winner Yes I Am Free in the stretch to capture the Race 8 feature on the opening-day program of the 2023-2024 Championship Meet.
No Nay Hudson ($9.20), who had won two of nine starts lifetime, broke on top before saving ground behind a hot early pace into the stretch and powering past the 5-2 second favorite to prevail by 1 ½ lengths in a strong field of veteran turf runners assembled for the five-furlong sprint.
Paco Lopez rode the 3-year-old son of No Nay Never.
“I was excited to get him down here, because he’s more of a five-furlong horse than a 5 ½-furlong horse,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who saddled No Nay Never for multiple graded-stakes victories in the U.S. and Europe. “I told Paco to take him back. I just gave him guff about being in front early, but it worked out.”
No Nay Hudson ran five furlongs over the newly rebuilt turf course that has been widened by 15 feet in 54.60 seconds.
“The turf course is amazing, very good. Wesley Ward told me the horse was very tough, so maybe go with the pony. I let him go with the pony and he was pretty tough. In the race he broke very well, and he had to come from behind, so I had a lot of time to get my position,” Lopez said. “I took a hold of my horse, and nobody came, and I just let him run. Wesley told me the horse would be ready today.”
Yes I Am Free, who was ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of third-place finisher Zarak. Multiple graded stakes-placed Bad Beat Brian, the 2-1 favorite, was forced to race wide and finished off the board.
Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Cleopatra’s Nile ($4) earned the distinction of winning the very first race on the new turf course with a hard-fought victory by a head in Race 1, a mile $50,000 claiming maiden race for 2-year-old fillies. Ken Ramsey’s homebred daughter of Mucho Macho Man was ridden by Edgard Zayas, who was aboard Joseph-trained Sunshine Frolic in the first official workout over the turf Monday.
Zayas pressed the pace aboard Cleopatra’s Nile before wearing down Parallel yards before the wire in the first race on turf at Gulfstream in May.
“It feels great. The moisture was pretty even. I went pretty close to the pace but there was not much in the race,” Zayas said. “I worked on it on Monday, and I think Monday had a little more
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Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., who captured his eighth consecutive training title at Gulfstream Park while tying Victor Barboza Jr. for the crown for the recently completed Sunshine Meet, won both ends of the early daily double with Cleopatra’s Nile ($4) in Race 1 and Apocalypso ($4.80) in Race 2.
Paco Lopez rode a pair of winners Friday, Villegas Swing ($8.80) in Race 4 and No Nay Hudson ($9.20) in the featured Race 8.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $91,522,11