Ten Twenty Racing and Saffie Joseph Jr.’s Comedy Town raced four-wide coming out of the far turn then went past stablemate Sibelius at the eighth pole to upset the $110,000 Smile Sprint at odds of 11-1 at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Trained by Joseph and ridden to victory by Drayden Van Dyke, Florida-bred Comedy Town earned his first black-type victory at age six in defeating six other 3-year-olds and older going six furlongs.

In addition to the $58,800 winner’s share of the purse, Comedy Town also picked up a $10,000 Florida-bred bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Florida-bred Octane, the 6-5 favorite, broke on top from post four but was quickly passed to his inside by Swirvin as Comedy Town settled into fourth in the three path. After a rapid quarter mile in :22.02, Swirvin maintained a half-length lead on Octane in second between horses with Sibelius just off his outside hip in third. Comedy Town remained patient on the rail in fourth from another two lengths back.

Sibelius took a short lead passing the quarter pole when Van Dyke guided Comedy Town to the far outside to challenge and those two turned for home heads apart as Octane and Swirvin began to drop out of contention.

Comedy Town went by Sibelius with a furlong to go then extended his lead down the stretch to win by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:10.03 on the fast track. Run Classic came on late to get second, a length-and-a-half in front of Sibelius in third. They were followed in order by Swirvin, Florida-bred Loco Abarrio, Legacy Isle and Octane. Florida-bred Mish was scratched.

“He broke good. Looked like a really tough race on paper,” Van Dyke said. “Saffie just said if my other horse breaks good sit off of him. If I break good, just don’t kill each other. I ended up being right behind the speed. I was able to get outside around the three-eighths pole and I was pleasantly surprised how loaded I was going into the turn. I was excited to let him do his thing down the lane and thankfully we had enough to get it done.”

It was the second consecutive win for Comedy Town after a two-length triumph against first condition, $25,000 optional claimers going six furlongs over a sloppy track at Gulfstream on June 8. The Smile Sprint was the third race for Comedy Town from the Joseph barn after being claimed for $25,000 out of a second-place finish to Cotton at Gulfstream on March 15. It was also his first race over a fast dirt track in 26 career starts.

“He was working good on dirt a week after we claimed him,” Joseph said. “He ran his first race on Tapeta and he didn’t run that good. I decided to give him a chance on the dirt. Last time when he won, it was a sloppy track. He was training well and today he was super impressive. He sat off horses, he went by some nice horses. Sibelius won a Group 1. He proved he is legit and he showed a new dimension.”

Comedy Town has now won five with five seconds and four thirds and he increased his lifetime earnings to $336,675.

Comedy Town is by Speightstown out of the Distorted Humor mare Unbridled Humor, winner of the 2011 Noble Damsel (Grade 3) and 2010 Memories of Silver. Unbridled Humor has also produced stakes-placed Wild and Funny, by Kitten’s Joy; and stakes-placed Wild Medagliad’oro, by Medaglia d’Oro. Unbridled Humor has four winners from six starters and an unraced 3-year-old filly, Winning Ballyhoo, by Into Mischief; an unraced 2-year-old filly, Souper Zesty Zest, by Laoban; a yearling colt, Souper Cha Ching, by Medaglia d’Oro and a weanling filly, Amazing Alice, by Bolt d’Oro. Comedy Town was bred in Florida by Live Oak Stud.

Comedy Town is the third consecutive Florida-bred winner of the Smile after Willy Boi in 2022 and Dean Delivers last year. Since moving to Gulfstream Park from the shuttered Calder Race Course in 2016, the Smile has also been won by Florida-breds Delta Bluesman (2016), Imperial Hint (2017) and X Y Jet (2018). First run as the Miami Beach Sprint Handicap in 1984, the Smile has been won by Florida-breds 26 times.

A previous version of this story incorrectly noted Willy Boi won the Smile in 2023

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