Jockey Junior Alvarado brought Lucky Luvy with a late charge, to snatch victory and hand Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. success in the US$75 000 Sunshine and Mare Turf Stakes in Florida on Saturday.
Lucky Luvy trailed the six-horse field for most of the mile and 70-yard trip before exploding in the final metres to reel in the leaders and reach the wire 2-¼ lengths clear, in a new track record time of one minute, 41.63 seconds.
Lucky Luvy’s stablemate Sugar Fix ran second, finishing 1-¼ lengths ahead of third placed 15-1 outsider Key Biscayne, in the co-feature on the 11-race card at Gulfstream Park.
Joseph leads the Championship Meet at the southeast Florida oval with 31 wins, nine clear of reigning champion Todd Pletcher in second.
In the penultimate race of the day for four-year-old and upward Florida-bred fillies and mares, Alvarado broke 8-1 chance Lucky Luvy slowly to trail the field as 6-1 choice Quinoa Tifah dashed to the front to lay down fractions of 24.84 seconds for the quarter and 49.54 for the half.
Sugar Fix, with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, chased from second while fellow 3-2 bet Sister Otoole raced in third, Kelsey’s Cross tracked from fourth with Key Biscayne, fifth.
The pace quickened as the race approached the final turn and Sugar Fix ranged up on the outside of Quinoa Tifah, the pair dragging the field into the stretch in a heated duel.
However, a seam opened up at the sixteenth pole and Alvarado drove the five-year-old roan mare through to pick up the running and storm to the finish.