HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Itsmyluckyday ran back to his huge performance in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, and then some, when upsetting reigning Eclipse Award champion Shanghai Bobby and setting a new track record in the process in Saturday’s Grade 3, $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.
Barbara D. Livingston
completed a mile and one-sixteenth in 1:41.81 - slashing .54 seconds off the old mark set by Endorsement one year earlier - en route to his two-length victory over Shanghai Bobby. It was another 11 1/2 lengths further back to the tiring Clearly Now in third.
Itsmyluckyday ($11.40 ), a son of Lawyer Ron, is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for the partnership of the Trilogy Stable and his wife Laurie Plesa.
As expected, Shanghai Bobby with regular jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard, went right to the lead along the rail. Itsmyluckyday was able to secure perfect stalking position under Elvis Trujillo despite breaking from post 7 with the short run to the first turn in 1 1/16-mile races at Gulfstream. Shanghai Bobby cut out a legitimate pace, recording early splits of 23.34 seconds, 46.68 and 1:10.69 for the opening six furlongs with both Clearly Now and Itsmyluckyday in close pursuit.
Itsmyluckyday went up to challenge Shanghai Bobby approaching the quarter pole, forged to a short advantage coming out of the turn, then gradually edged clear in late stretch. Shanghai Bobby was game in defeat, resisting the winner to mid-stretch while racing in what appeared to be the deeper going along the rail before finally succumbing near the end.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, anybody in this game deserves this kind of feeling and I wish them all to have this feeling sometime,” Plesa said after the race. “Just not today.”
Plesa said he was concerned about drawing post 7 in the 10-horse Holy Bull field and was just hoping he’d get a clean trip and have no excuses after the race.
“I told Elvis if you’re seven wide going into the first turn and you’re four wide heading for home you’re not going to win the race,” said Plesa. “I just wanted our horse to get a fair
chance to winthe race and that’s what happened. When we got to about the half-mile pole, I felt real good because I know he has a good kick. He couldn’t have been training or doing any better so I was fairly confident we were going to be right there.”
Plesa said he’ll see how Itsmyluckyday comes out of the race but that at this point, he’d lean towards skipping the Fountain of Youth and waiting for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 30.
For winning the Holy Bull, Itsmyluckyday received 10 points in the new system used to determine starter eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he had no excuse for Shanghai Bobby who suffered his first defeat in six starts.
“The winner was very good today, we were second best,” said Pletcher. “We got a good trip and didn’t expect to have to break the track record by three-fifths of a second in order to win.”