BY BROCK SHERIDAN
After a disappointing debut when 10th of 11 in a $50,000 maiden optional claiming over the Gulfstream Park synthetic course on Dec. 3, Florida-bred Crystal Quest quickly redeemed himself Sunday at Gulfstream with an upset victory going a mile under similar conditions on the turf.
The Live Oak Plantation homebred had an awkward start in his first race and was never a factor in the mile-and-70-yard affair for trainer Michael Trombetta but was all business Sunday, winning at 18-1 odds to pay $38.60 on a $2 win ticket.
Racing with blinkers for the first time, Crystal Quest settled off the pace in sixth, about six lengths behind 49-1 longshot Can’t Jump, who led by a half-length ahead of My Life Story in second through a half-mile in :49.16. Jockey Edwin Gonzalez gave Crystal Quest his cue while four-wide around the far turn and headed for home a length-and-a-half shy of new leader My Life Story. Crystal Quest continued to close ground on the outside down the stretch and finished a length in front of My Life Story in second in a final time of 1:35.83 on the first turf. Annointed, the 3-5 favorite, finished third and was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Laura Cazares for Golden Kernel Racing Stable.
The 3-year-old Crystal Quest is by Uncle Mo out of the unraced Giant’s Causeway mare Giant Crystal and has now earned $30,430 in his two starts.
Live Oak Plantation also won the ninth race, a first level, $25,000 optional claiming for 4-year-olds and older sprinting five furlongs on the turf, with their Florida homebred Bring Theband Home.
Ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Mark Casse, Bring Theband Home improved his record to three wins in six starts with a second and a third.
X Y Speed was second with Portofino third.
Consistent Bird Wildcat Best Among Florida-breds in Eighth Race
Monarch Stables Inc.’s Bird Wildcat improved his strike rate to 25% in Sunday’s eighth race, a first level, $20,000 optional claiming for Florida-bred 4-year-olds and older going seven furlongs.
The 5-year-old gelding won for the fourth time in 16 starts to earn $28,400 and increase his career revenues to $132,890.
Ridden from post nine by Miguel Vasquez in the 11-horse field, the Ronald Spatz-trained Bird Wildcat raced midpack during the initial stages before circling the field in the four-path around the far turn. He continued to advance on the outside down the stretch to pass leaders Sir Ollie and Mauna Kea Bound inside the final sixteenth of a mile to win by a length-and-three-quarters in 1:24.43 on the fast track. Mauna Kea Bound finished second with Sir Ollie third. Sir Ollie was claimed for $20,000 by Brittany A. Vanden Berg and Marsico Brothers Racing LLC.
Bird Wildcat is by Noble Bird out of Legal Laura, by Wildcat Heir and was bred by Stonehedge LLC. He was a $40,000 purchase by Frank Bertolino at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sales October Yearling Sale where he was consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield.
Return to Jan. 28 issue of Wire to Wire