Yes I Am successfully defends his title in the G3 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (Coglianese)
Gulfstream Park Press Release
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Golden Kernel Racing Stable’s Yes I Am Free went right to the front and was in control throughout Saturday at Gulfstream Park on his way to successfully defend his title in the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3).
The Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, a five-furlong dash for older horses, was supported on Saturday’s 12-race program by the $100,000 Ladies Turf Sprint, a five-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
Yes I Am Free ($8.60) shot out of the starting gate and showed the way during a half-mile on fractions of 21.75 and 44.33 seconds with Caratori and Shekky Shebaz in pursuit. The Laura Cazares-trained 7-year-old gelding continued on to score a half-length decision over a determined Carotari. The son of Uncaptured ran five-furlongs in 55.71 seconds over a firm turf while making quick work of his title defense under Miguel Vasquez.
“We kind of had two ways that we were thinking it would play out: get out, go to the lead, try to get to the rail and save some ground, get the lead and keep the lead. Or, if anybody else kind of wanted to go out in front, hang back a little bit, let the speed go and make a closing move.” Cazares said. “I told Miguel, ‘Do what you need to do. You know how the race is going to play out there. I don’t want to tell you too much. These are our two game plans and go with whichever one.’”
Carotari, the 7-5 favorite who was ridden by Joel Rosario, finished second three-quarters of a length ahead of Shekky Shebaz.
Yes I Am Free had come off a five-month layoff to win an optional claiming allowance by a hard-fought nose Jan. 19.
“His last race as a very tough race and we were very worried,” Cazares said. “He hadn’t run in a while and we know he was going to need a race off the layoff but he fought the entire way. He was not giving up. He showed a lot of heart.”
Saturday’s victory was Yes I Am Free’s 11th in 25 career starts, the most memorable being last year’s triumph in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.
“It feels amazing because I hadn’t won a Grade 3 race before, I didn’t really win any stakes race before, so this guy has done a lot for me and [the owners]. It’s their first horse and look what he’s done for them. He’s done a lot for all of us,” Cazares said. “All the horses do a lot for all of us but this guy has done the biggest so far. It’s great.”