HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Juddmonte’s Obligatory made a triumphant return to action Saturday at Gulfstream Park, winning her first start of the 2022 racing season in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3).
The Hurricane Bertie, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for older fillies and mare, co-headlined Saturday’s 12-race program with the $100,000 Captiva Island, a five-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares that was transferred from turf to the Tapeta track.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Obligatory was making her first start since winning the Nov. 20 Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs.
The 4-year-old daughter of Curlin trailed the six-horse field as Bramble Berry showed the way under Edwin Gonzalez through fractions of 22.40 and 46.26 seconds for the first half mile over a sloppy track. Obligatory, the 6-5 second betting choice ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, made steady progress along the rail on the far turn and on the turn into the homestretch to loom as a threat to the loose-on-the-lead pacesetter at the top of the stretch,
Bramble Berry continued to lead into mid-stretch before finally succumbing to the late kick of Obligatory, who drew off to win by three lengths.
“We knew she would come from behind. We were hoping there was enough speed in front of her,” Gaffalione said. “Bill said she normally doesn’t take the turn well, but today she was taking it the whole way.”
Obligatory broke her maiden at Gulfstream Feb. 7, 2021 and went on win the seven-furlong Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs and finish a close second in the mile Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park, as well as finishing second in the two-turn Cotillion (G1) at Parx.
Obligatory covered 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.92 to win her second race at Gulfstream in as many starts. Bramble Berry finished second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of even-money favorite Four Graces.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Obligatory wins the Hurricane Bertie. (Ryan Thompson)