A head bob at the wire determined the winner of Saturday’s 70th running of the $100,000 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park with the outcome benefiting 4-5 favorite Beeline with Florida-bred Improptude providing the crowd a thrilling come from behind stretch run to miss the win by a nose.

Breaking well from the gate, Beeline took the early lead, losing it slightly to Ship to Shore when passing the quarter pole before digging in gamely for Edgard Zayas to take command in the upper stretch.

Ridden by Joe Bravo, Improptude tracked in the three path most of the race and was floated out to the seven-path swinging five wide before barreling down the center of the track for the near victory.

Patriot Spirit was a length and a half back for third after getting rank while racing in stalking position along the rail where he was caught in traffic. He was stymied briefly behind horses and was angled out by Tyler Gaffalione into the stretch. He was tipped in for the final sixteenth of a mile, gaining momentum for third.

Beeline, the 4-5 favorite, ran six furlongs in 1:10.59.  Beeline is a chestnut colt by Bee Jersey out of Secretariat Humor, by Distorted Humor and was bred by Charles Fipke and owned by Vintage Thoroughbreds LLC, Scott Estes, and Brian Hanley. He is trained by Riley Mott, son of Hall of Famer Bill Mott. At 32, the younger Mott has established himself as a trainer on the rise since winning his first race in only his third start at Churchill Downs in November. The horse is an Ocala Breeders Sales June graduate bringing $70,000 under the Eddie Woods consignment and was bought on the recommendation of Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Devon Bradley. The horse was unraced at two and has posted two wins this year including a maiden special weight on Feb. 10 at Gulfstream Park.

“Devon Bradley had a laser focus on this horse at auction,” said Hanley, a former Chicago sports talk radio host who first became involved in Thoroughbred ownership in 2015, partnering with former NHL center Eddie Olczyk with Gulfstream stakes winner Who’s Your Drama. “It was all Devon Bradley and what a horse! Two for two. Devon said yesterday, ‘If he wins this race, visions of grandeur.”

Second place finisher Florida-bred Improptude was bred by Tami Bobo on her farm in Ocala. The horse is owned by Fly With Me and Bobo who has had success with the horse’s trainer Antonio Sano in the past with the reigning Florida Horse of the Year Simplification.

The son of Florida’s leading sire Khozan, Improptude has posted two firsts and two seconds in four starts this season, all at Gulfstream. He is out of Tizlot by Tiznow.

The full order of finish was Valiant Force going his first time on dirt, Ship to Shore, Sir Flash and Starship Mocha who seemed bothered by a bump at the start and trailed throughout the race.

Return to the March 16 issue of Wire to Wire