HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and OGMA Investments’ Soros, a stakes winner around one turn last fall, looks to duplicate that result in his return to two turns in Saturday’s $75,000 Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
“It’s wonderful that Gulfstream Park has really risen to the occasion. I have to continue to tip my cap to them. They’ve persisted during really tough times,” Eclipse managing partner Aron Wellman said. “They were in the eye of the storm leading up to Florida Derby week and the conclusion of the Championship Meet and they’ve continued to keep delivering for the horsemen now into the spring-summer meet, as well. Putting a 3-year-old stake around two turns is certainly an indication that they really understand what horsemen need right now, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to run in this race.”
Soros, a son of 2014 Florida Derby (G1) and 2015 Donn Handicap (G1) winner Constitution, made his debut around two turns in a one-mile maiden special weight last fall at Gulfstream Park West where his trainer, Gustavo Delgado, is based. The chestnut wound up second after pressing the pace behind Fort McHenry.
The same two horses met up again in the Smooth Air Stakes Nov. 30 on opening weekend of the Championship Meet, when Soros made a bold four-wide move approaching the stretch and went on to a 2 ½-length triumph in 1:38.10. Fort McHenry faded to ninth as the favorite.
“He’s a colt who had run two turns first time out at Gulfstream West and ran a pretty good second behind a decent colt in his debut which is hard to do as a 2-year-old, go two turns and run well,” Wellman said. “He came back and, even though he reverted to a one-turn mile in the Smooth Air, he seemed to do it so effortlessly. It was a very eye-catching performance, and doing it under circumstances that probably weren’t playing to his strengths was even that much more impressive.”
Eclipse stepped in following the Smooth Air to purchase a majority interest in Soros, who fetched $40,000 as a yearling in September 2018. Soros opened his sophomore campaign finishing fifth off a four-month layoff behind undefeated Money Moves in a one-mile optional claiming allowance March 27 at Gulfstream.
“He came out of the last race really well. Gustavo has been very pleased with him. We really had designed his comeback race as a springboard. We had cross-entered him in the Florida Derby and the allowance race around a one-turn mile the day prior. We opted to take a conservative approach with him and run him in the allowance,” Wellman said. “It was a nasty, salty allowance race at a distance that we knew was going to be too short for him. But, we visualized Soros being a long-term prospect that’s going to excel ultimately around two turns.
“His profile is such that we’re hoping that he’s the type that not only gets better with distance but with age and seasoning, as well,” he added. “So, we tried to take the conservative approach there, give him that race that day, to set him up to be able to go two turns. We feel fortunate that Gulfstream put up the Unbridled so that we could stay home and run him in a stake around two turns without having to get too aggressive and venture out of town too quickly in his campaign.”
Emisael Jaramillo, up for his unveiling, returns to ride Soros from Post 6, sharing topweight of 122 pounds with fellow open stakes winner South Bend. All seven horses are Triple Crown nominated.
“We jumped in … with the hope that he would develop into a really good 3-year-old and beyond and be a Classic-type individual. Obviously we’ve encountered some very peculiar times right now and the schedule has gotten all knocked out of whack, but that should only play into his benefit as the year progresses,” Wellman said. “He’s a horse that we gave a lot of time to after he won the Smooth Air and he needed his race in late March and we really used that as a steppingstone to bigger and better things [hopefully]. Now, he’s in position to be able to really capitalize on what should be a little more generously spaced out season and there’s no rush to go into any of the heavyweight bouts quite yet, which makes this spot even that much more appealing.
“Don’t get me wrong, this is a really tough race, too. It might be a compact field … but you’re looking at an exceptional cast of really talented 3-year-olds and this is going to take a real horse to win it. I think you’re going to find some real horses coming out of it that might even just hit the frame,” he added. “We’re certainly not taking this for granted by any stretch of the imagination. We’re hoping for a gradual progression out of Soros and that he validates our opinion of him that he is a legitimate colt around two turns.”
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Soros wins 2019 Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Credit: Coglianese/Laura King