Willy Boi cuts back, draws away to win Hutcheson

March 7, 2021

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL Lea Farms LLC’s Willy Boi stepped off the Triple Crown trail and into the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle Saturday, capturing the $75,000 Hutcheson Stakes with a gritty performance.

The Hutcheson, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, highlighted a 12-race program, along with the $75,000 Any Limit and the $75,000 Sanibel Island.

After tiring to finish far back in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull (G3) last time out, Willy Boi ran his undefeated record in sprints to 3-for-3 while cutting back in distance in the Hutcheson. The gelded son of Uncaptured pressed a rapid pace while racing between Warrior’s Pride on the inside and favored Roderick to his outside during a first quarter of a mile in 21.97 and a half-mile in 44.99 seconds. The Jeff Engler-trained Florida-bred asserted himself turning into the stretch and kicked away to victory over a sealed sloppy track. 

“I was pretty confident. Jeff had him ready. He tried him long the last time – he had to. The horse didn’t want to go that long. He showed today he’s a sprinter,” jockey Corey Lanerie said. “I was really confident, especially coming out of the route race and him having a little bit more air. The horse put me in a great position and I just had to be a great passenger.”

Willy Boi, who won both of his races at six furlongs before running in the Holy Bull, ran six furlongs in 1:10.93 to score by 1 ¾ lengths over a late closing Ultimate Badger.

“He’s just a nice horse. He was two-for-two and we wanted to give him a shot in the Holy Bull. We felt pretty confident coming back into today, and he ran great so we’re happy,” Engler said. “We’re so happy for the owners. This is one of the first horses they bought, and he’s just turned out to be a good one. We’re just real excited for him.”

Willy Boi was purchased for $40,000 at the October 2020 OBS 2-year-olds-in-training sale.

Ultimate Badger, who was a distant third in the Swale (G3) last time out, trailed the field early before closing on the far outside to finish second under Paco Lopez, a length ahead of Lauda Speed. Roderick, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz, faded to last in a field of six.

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Willy Boi, Ryan Thompson (Coglianese Photos)

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