Venezuelan Hug hugged the rail edging Olympic Runner for the win in the Canadian Turf G3

February 28, 2021

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Spedale Family Racing and R. A. Hill Stable’s Venezuelan Hug, racing on the inside throughout, found a seam between horses nearing the wire and got his nose down to edge Olympic Runner in Saturday’s $125,000 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The 55 th running of the 1 1/16-mile Canadian Turf for older turf horses was the fourth of nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.475 million on a blockbuster 14-race program headlined by the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds on the road to the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa March 27, and $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) featuring the seasonal debut of 2-year-old filly champion Vequist.

Venezuelan Hug ($11) improved to 5-0 lifetime at the distance and gave jockey Junior

Alvarado his second stakes win on the card, following Annex in the $100,000 Palm Beach. The winning time was 1:40.42 over a firm course.

Bizzee Channel, sent off at 25-1, set fractions of 23.69 seconds for a quarter-mile and

48.48 for the half under moderate pressure from Winters Back to his outside, with Fancy Liquor and Gear Jockey racing in behind and Alvarado saving ground along the rail in fifth to the inside of Olympic Runner.

Winters Back moved up and took a short lead over Bizzee Channel once straightened for home, while Olympic Runner swung to the outside to launch a bid while Alvarado bided his time on Venezuelan Hug. Olympic Runner appeared on the way to victory until Venezuelan Hug split Winters Back on his inside and Gear Jockey to earn his third consecutive win, all in stakes. Olympic Runner edged 25-1 long shot Gear Jockey for second, with Winters Back fourth and 5-2 favorite Eons fifth.

$125,000 Canadian Turf (G3) Quotes:

Winning trainer Danny Gargan (Venezuelan Hug): “I got a little concerned when he

got stuck down in there. He’s such a big horse, I was a little worried he wouldn’t be able to get through. The only instructions I gave Junior was that he likes to make his run on the outside, but he’s won a couple times on the inside now so he’s maturing. He does really well pretty much everywhere we’ve had him, but he does love it down here. He likes two turns. He really digs in and gives you a big effort every time.”

“He’s a really big horse, he’s almost 17 hands, and I said just try to keep him out of

trouble and when you ask him, he’ll come running for you. I expected a big performance from him. I told [co-owner] Randy [Hill] to book his flight and come down here because he’ll have a lot of fun today. He was lucky enough to win two today. It’s kind of exciting when your owners can come to town and have a big day.”

Winning jockey Junior Alvarado (Venezuelan Hug): “That’s what happens on the turf.

Sometimes you get lucky and you get through it and you look like a hero. Sometimes you don’t get through it and you look like the bad guy. I just was glad that I had the horse today. He pushed through it and made my job easier. I just had to go with him. He’s such a cool horse.”

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Venezuelan Hug (Coglianese Photos)

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