HALLANDALE BEACH, FL–Jockey Joe Bravo has enjoyed a history of success on David Fawkes-trained horses at Gulfstream Park and beyond through the years, so it was only fitting that the veteran rider would score his first victory since returning from Southern California aboard a Fawkes trainee.

Bravo, who has ridden the winners of 5,627 races and more than $199.7 million in purses, guided Florida-bred Whateverwilbewillbe to victory with a heads-up ride in Sunday’s third race of Gulfstream Park’s nine-race program. Bravo broke through with his first win back at Gulfstream on only his second mount.

“It’s nice to be home, but it’s even better to do it for friends,” the 52-year-old jockey who began is career in South Florida in 1988 said. “Look at the horse he put me on. I was just able to sit there. It made my job easier.”

Bravo eased Whateverwilbewilbe off a contested early pace in the seven-furlong maiden claiming race to attain a ground-saving trip behind the speed into the far turn. Midway on the turn, Brave slipped his mount inside the tiring pacesetter on his way to a length-and-a-quarter victory.

Bravo made a most successful foray into the Southern California Thoroughbred racing circuit after leaving the East Coast in 2021, winning several graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Big Crosby in 2022 aboard American Theorem. He also won the Grade 2 Best Pal aboard Florida-bred Pappacap. Both the Bing Crosby and Best Pal were run at Del Mar.

Return to Nov. 12 issue of Wire to Wire