Victor Barboza – Facebook

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL–Saffie Joseph Jr. and Victor Barboza Jr. finished in a dead-heat for the training title for the Sunshine Meet that came to a close Saturday at Gulfstream Park with 33 winners each.

Joseph saddled Florida-bred Mojave Desert ($9.20) for a victory in the first race, to pull even with Victor Barboza Jr., who entered Saturday’s card with a 32-31 edge. Barboza countered in the second race with Grand Daniel ($7). Joseph came back to tie it up in the sixth race with Florida-bred Breezero ($2.60).

Joseph has won eight consecutive training titles at Gulfstream Park, including the last two Championship Meet crowns.

Jose D’Angelo, who had been in the thick of a three-way battle for the training title, finished third with 30 winners.

Unlike Joseph and Barboza, jockey Edgard Zayas held a commanding lead in the jockey standings throughout the Sunshine Meet that started Sept. 9. The 30-year-old Puerto Rico native, who rides first-call for Joseph, finished the meet with 59 wins, 21 more than runner-up Miguel Vasquez.

“It’s been great. I’ve been getting support from all the owners and trainers,” Zayas said after riding Breezero to a six-length maiden victory. “I’m so happy to be healthy.”

Zayas is looking forward to the Championship Meet that gets underway next Friday and runs through March 31.

“My agent [Tito Fuente]) always told me this is the most important meet of the whole [offseason], because you’ve got to go into the Championship on a roll,” Zayas, who rode a pair of winners on the closing day program, said. “This is an important meet going into the Championship Meet.”


Rainbow 6 Gross Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $125,000 Friday

The 20¢ Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $125,000 Friday. The popular multi-race wager went unsolved Saturday for the sixth program following a $136,285.46 jackpot hit.

Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, headlined by a $62,500 optional claiming with a purse of $72,000 that is set for five furlongs over the newly renovated turf course.

The Laura Cazares-trained Yes I Am Free, a multiple graded-stakes winning Florida-bred who has dominated his competition at Gulfstream in turf sprints the past few years, returns from a three-month freshening in the deep field of 12.

Championship Meet newcomer Brittany Vanden Berg is scheduled to saddle multiple graded stakes-placed Bad Beat Brian. Joseph-trained Axthelm, a graded stakes-placed son of Into Mischief, returns to Gulfstream off a third-place allowance finish at Keeneland.

A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool will be held on Saturday’s program.

Return to the Nov. 25 issue of Wire to Wire