BY GULFSTREAM PARK PRESS OFFICE
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Lea Farms LLC’s Power Squeeze closed stoutly down the center of the track to sweep past horses through the stretch and spring an 8-1 upset of her stakes debut in Monday’s $150,000 Cash Run at Gulfstream Park.
The fourth running of the one-mile Cash Run for newly turned 3-year-old fillies, first step on the road to the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2) to be run on March 30, shared top billing on a New Year’s holiday program with the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man for 3-year-olds.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Jorge Delgado, Power Squeeze was making just her fourth start and first since a four-and-a-half-length triumph in an off-the-turf maiden special weight on Oct. 7 at Delaware Park.
Ortiz kept the late-running daughter of Belmont Stakes (G1)-winner Union Rags in the clear four wide as Done Enough cruised through an opening half in :46.75, pressed to her outside by Sweet Hazely, with multiple stakes winning Florida-bred Chi Chi racing in between De Regresso on the rail and 9-5 favorite Queen’s Martini.
When Queen’s Martini moved up to launch a bid three wide rounding the far turn, Ortiz tipped further out to follow suit and set Power Squeeze down for a drive, soaring to the front and going away to win by five lengths in 1:37.19 over a fast main track.
Power Squeeze returned $18.80 to win.
“It’s always a plus to have Irad on her back. He did everything right today,” Delgado said. “The filly was very good today. I think we’ll have a nice filly moving forward.”
Queen’s Martini was a clear second, two-and-three-quarters lengths ahead of Done Enough, who held off Sweet Hazely for third. Chi Chi and De Regresso completed the order of finish.
Power Squeeze was racing for the first time at Gulfstream after making three starts as a 2-year-old, running fourth and second in six-furlong maiden special weights at Delaware and Monmouth Park before her graduation.
Power Squeeze is by Union Rags out of Callmethesqueeze, by Awesome Again and has now won two of four starts with one second while banking $128,650.
Lea Farms purchased her in 2023 for $90,000 out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale where she was consigned by Hal Hatch’s Halcyon Hammock Farm located in Bronson, Fla.
Delgado said he would likely target the next race in Gulfstream’s series for 3-year-old fillies on dirt, the $125,000 Forward Gal (G3) sprinting seven furlongs Feb. 3.
Otello Kicks in Late to Win Monday’s Mucho Macho Man
WinStar Farm LLC and Siena Farm’s Otello overcame traffic at the top of the stretch to capture Monday’s $150,000 Mucho Macho Man on Gulfstream Park’s New Year’s Day program with a late-surge under Luis Saez.
The Mucho Macho Man, a one-turn miles stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds, is the first stop on the Road to the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby that will be renewed March 30.
Christophe Clement-trained Otello, the 8-5 betting favorite, was making his stakes debut while coming off a debut victory at Aqueduct Nov. 24.
“He won first time out in New York, and he won well, got into a lot of trouble. The same applied today, so I guess he likes to be in trouble. But he won well, and he got out of the trouble. He was good enough to overcome it,” Clement said. “I’m not exactly sure what he beat today. I know that they liked the second horse. I’m thrilled. I don’t train too many Curlins, so it’s nice when it works out.”
Otello, who prevailed by a half-length over First World War, ran a mile in 1:37.76.
First World War finish second by a neck over Sea Streak. Inveigled finished fourth followed by No More Time and Everdoit.
The next stop on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby is the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Feb. 3, followed by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at the same distance on March 2.
Clement said he would talk with WinStar’s Elliott Walden about future plans for Otello.
“He’s had two starts and he’s had plenty of schooling. We’ll see how he comes out of it. As you know, Elliott Walden is very involved, so we’ll speak with him and have a plan. We’ll enjoy this for a day or so and go from there. He’ll have to go two turns next time, obviously, the question is: where? We’ve got time to think about that.”
Who’s Hot: Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. had two wins Monday, aboard Strand of Gold ($3) in the second race and Power Squeeze, the $150,000 Cash Run… Both Strand of Gold and seventh race-winner Eldon’s Prince ($16.60) are trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.
— Brock Sheridan contributed to this article
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