Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. celebrated the successful defence of his Gulfstream Park spring-summer title when he produced three winners on the season-ending card.
Already assured of the title after opening up a massive lead during the campaign at the South Florida oval which got underway on April 1, the 34-year-old scored with 2-1 chance Baby Lion in race two and another 2-1 bet Skippylongstocking in race three before taking race nine with favourite La Chica Lateral.
Joseph, who arrived in the United States from Barbados nearly a decade ago, finished with 71 wins – 36 clear of second-placed Carlos David – with Antonio Sano a further two back in third on 33 wins.
Last year, Joseph took the corresponding title with 59 wins.
Jockey Edgard Zayas, who rides extensively for Joseph’s barn, also retained his title when he finished on 124 wins – five ahead of Emisael Jaramillo on Sunday.
Joseph came up short in the day’s opener when Zayas finished second to favourite Allegedly Perfect aboard 3-1 choice Frenchmen Street.
However, he tasted success over six furlongs in race two when Zayas partnered with three-year-old filly Baby Lion to beat the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by half-length.
Awesome View led early before Baby Lion caught her at the quarter-pole, sparking a duel that carried on into the stretch before the winner edged ahead late on.
Joseph returned to the winners’ circle when JC Diaz Jr piloted Skippylongstocking to a crushing 10-½ length victory over the two-year-old maidens going a mile.
Inkosi produced the early fractions but Diaz put his bay colt to the front at the half-mile marker, opening up a lead which was further widened in an impressive stretch run.
Joseph’s final win came over six furlongs for the three-year-old and upward state-bred fillies and mares, when Zayas combined with three-year-old bay filly La Chica Lateral to carve out a comfortable 6-¾ length score after duelling through the half-mile with second-placed Mackenzie’s Girl.
The autumn meet gets underway Thursday and runs until November 21.