Florida-breds Gentlemans Code and Wildcat Creek made up half of the abbreviated field of four in the Thomas S. Clifton Stakes at Penn National Saturday night and they ran like they were the better half, finishing first and second respectively in the five furlong turf sprint.
Wildcat Creek was the post time favorite going to the gate at even odds while Gentlemans Code had slightly less support at 6-5. Breaking from the inside post, Wildcat Creek raced up to get the lead shortly after the break but gave way to Gentlemans Code who had put a head in front by the time they had run the first quarter in an active :22.68. Those two raced down the backstretch in tandem but around the turn and into the stretch, Wildcat Creek forced Gentlemans Code a bit wide. Julio Garcia aboard Gentlemans Code kept to the task however and those two hit the wire a half-length in front of a tenacious Wildcat Creek and jockey Matthew Rispoli in second. It was more than five lengths back to Golden Wheels in third and another length and one-quarter to Bull H in fourth. The final time for the five furlongs was :56.18 over a turf course rated as firm.
It was the first stakes victory for the 3-year-old gelded son of Proud Accolade and the Saint Ballado mare American Saint that began his racing career in Europe where he broke his maiden in May of last year at Folkestone Race Course in Westenhanger, United Kingdom. He was then fourth in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Ascot before shipping to Monmouth Park in New Jersey where he was second in the $70,000 Tyro Stakes in his first start stateside. Trained by Wesley Ward for owners David Reid and Geoff Stein’s Ice Wine Stable in Briarcliff, N.Y., Gentlemans Code was also fourth in the Affirmed division of the Florida Stallion Stakes behind winner Fort Loudon last August at Calder. He rattled off a series of three straight wins at Keeneland and Arlington Park this summer before finishing third in the $100,000 Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga on Jul. 26 in his last race.
Gentlemans Code was bred in Florida by Bridlewood Farm of Ocala and he is also a graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2010 August Yearling Sale where he sold for $12,000. That has turned out well for Ice Wine who earned $30,000 for the win at Penn National and have seen Gentlemans Code bring home $140,112 in his short career.
Gentlemans Code returned $4.40 and $2.20 while Wildcat Creek, by Journeyman Stud stallion Wildcat Heir and bred in Florida by Hardacre Farm, also paid $2.20 to place. There was no show wagering offered.
Photo by Bill Denver