Willy Boi Preps for Smile with Sharp Big Drama Win 

May 29, 2022

The Virginian Turns Tables on Warrior’s Pride in Co-Feature
Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed Sunday at $650,000

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Lea Farms LLC’s Willy Boi stamped himself as a strong contender for the July 3 Smile Sprint (G3) during Summit of Speed Weekend with a powerful victory in Saturday’s $65,000 Big Drama at Gulfstream Park.

One week after celebrating his first graded-stakes victory with Lea Farms LLC’s Lightening Larry in the Chick Lang (G3) on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard, trainer Jorge Delgado had high hopes for the graded-stake future of Willy Boi, who notched his second impressive victory.

The 4-year-old son of Uncaptured, who captured an April 8 optional claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs in his first start after being transferred to Delgado’s stable, chased pacesetter King Cab along the backstretch and around the far turn before asserting himself leaving the turn into the homestretch and drawing away to a 5 ¼ -length triumph under Chantal Sutherland.

“The horse is getting better and better and stronger every day. He had a long, long layoff so we used the Tampa race as a prep for this race. Now, this race is a prep for the Smile in July,” Delgado said. “We have high hopes for this horse. I’m just lucky and blessed to have horses like him.”

Willy Boy, the 8-5 favorite in a solid field of Florida-bred horses, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.33.  King Cab held on to second, 3 ½ lengths ahead of Shivaree.

Willy Boy won his fourth race in seven starts at Gulfstream, including a triumph in the Hutcheson Stakes last year.

In the co-featured $60,000 Sunny Isles, Big Top Stables LLC’s The Virginian ($5.80) turned the tables on Warrior’s Pride after taking advantage of an ideal set-up in the five-furlong overnight handicap on turf.

The Steve Klesaris-trained 5-year-old gelding, who chased loose-on-the-lead Warrior’s Pride in vain to finish second in an April 28 optional claiming allowance at five furlongs on turf, found himself in a perfect situation Saturday when Warrior’s Pride was beaten to the early lead by Tape to Tape. Miguel Vasquez rated The Virginian in third behind the dueling pacesetters before making a three-wide sweep with the son of Prospective on the turn into the homestretch and drawing clear to win by 1 ¾ lengths.

Warrior’s Pride, the 3-2 favorite who has won two stakes over the Gulfstream turf course, continued on gamely to finish second under Chantal Sutherland. Tape to Tape and jockey Jose Morales finished another half-length back in third.

The Virginian ran five-furlongs over firm going in 55.81 seconds.

Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed Sunday at $650,000

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $650,000 for Sunday’s program at Gulfstream Park.

The popular multi-race wager went unsolved Saturday for the 18th racing day in a row since a lucky bettor hit for a $182,098 payoff April 28.

Saturday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10 with the featured ninth race, a mile and 70-yard contest on the Tapeta, featuring a field of eight including Republique, a half-sister to 2021 Preakness (G1) winner Rombauer. A 3-year-old daughter of Strong Mandate, Republique won first time out April 14 for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. The competition includes stablemate Running Legacy, third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) last time out, and Love Her Lots, third last time on the turf in the Honey Fox. 

The Rainbow 6 will begin with a 1 1/16-mile turf event for $16,000 claimers featuring a field of 11 and will close with another 1 1/16-mile turf event for $16,000 maidens.

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park
Photo of Willy Boi by Ryan Thompson

@Jonathanstettin Very well written article. The sport will be missed by many...The time is now

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