Saffie Joseph Jr’s barn continued to churn out success at Gulfstream Park in the United States when favourite Eldon’s Prince got the better of a stretch duel with 3-1 chance No Nay Franklin, to capture the co-feature US$75 000 Armed Forces Stakes in Florida over the weekend.
Jockey Edgard Zayas sat the roan colt off the pace but always within striking distance before engaging the leaders at the top of the stretch and outlasting his main rival, to reach the wire by a head in a time of one minute, 25.02 seconds.
Originally scheduled for a mile on turf, the race was switched to seven furlongs on dirt, giving Eldon’s Prince his first taste of the surface in three career outings.
“We didn’t want to change surfaces so quick. We always wanted to try him on dirt later down the lane at a longer distance,” Barbadian Joseph said afterwards.
“We talked it over with A.P. Gentry, the owner of Gentry Farm, and he said, ‘roll the dice and see what happens.’
“He always trained well on dirt. He’s going to want to run longer – a mile, a mile-and-an-eighth, the longer the better. He just has the ability to overcome something that is not his niche.”
The start was a brisk one for the two-year-olds, 9-2 choice Golden Juan and 11-1 chance Night Jumper clashing in a hotly contested duel that returned fractions of 22.55 for the quarter and 45.48 for the quarter.
No Nay Franklin and Eternal Rest battled for second, Credibility tracked from fifth while Eldon’s Prince eyed proceedings from sixth.
Zayas quickened Eldon’s Prince on the outside approaching the turn, leaving the race a four-horse contest at the top of the stretch.
Golden Juan threatened briefly on the inside before Eldon’s Prince and No Nay Franklin took centre stage with their duel, Zayas getting the best out of the Ontario-bred colt.
“Edgard gave him a great ride. He fell heavily [Friday]. He showed guts to ride this horse today. It shows how tough these jockeys are,” said Joseph.
Only last month, Eldon’s Prince won the Proud Man Stakes at Gulfstream on turf.