(Imprimis / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Breeze Easy LLC’s Imprimis made a triumphant return to action at Gulfstream Park Friday, following up a troubled trip in the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) with a gutsy victory over Extravagant Kid in the $75,000 Janus.
The Janus, a five-furlong turf sprint for 4-year-olds and up, was the first of three stakes on the New Year’s Day card, including the $75,000 Cash Run, and the $75,000 Abundantia. Imprimis’ jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. also rode Gulf Coast to victory in the Cash Run and guided Hear My Prayer to win the Abundantia to finish the 11-race card with five victories.
Imprimis, the 4-5 favorite, ran his career record to 5-for-5 over the Gulfstream Park turf course, providing a measure of comfort for the disappointment his trainer felt following the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.
“I even said, ‘I’m feeling more pressure today that I did at the Breeders’ Cup, and today he’s supposed to win,” trainer Joe Orseno said.
Imprimis, who had to be checked hard by Ortiz after his stretch bid was shut off at Keeneland, didn’t have another horse in his path while making his wide drive to the finish line, enabling him to finish a neck ahead of Extravagant Kid, who was beaten by only a length while finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
“He ran down a credible horse. When Extravagant Kid got the jump on him, I thought I was in trouble, because he’s a good horse. The horse made about a million dollars,” Orseno said. “I’m very pleased to get a good trip.”
Imprimis did experience a little crowding following the break, settling in fifth along the backstretch as The Critical Way showed the way into the homestretch while setting swift fractions of 21.09 and 43.22 seconds for a half-mile. Extravagant Kid, who rated fourth on the backstretch, made a three-wide move on the turn into the homestretch to get the jump on the favorite, who quickly joined him to his outside. The Critical Way, ridden by Paco Lopez, held gamely while tiring but was unable to hold off his two more high-profile rivals, finishing just a head behind runner-up Extravagant Kid, the 5-2 second choice.
The multiple graded-stakes winner Imprimis ran five furlongs on a firm turf in 54.82 seconds.
“Last time it was a little sad after the trip I had in the Breeders’ Cup. I feel like it’s one of those races that you probably could have won, and those races don’t come back. It’s one time the whole year, so I was so sad for them because he worked so hard and he deserved it. I probably made a bad decision, so I feel bad,” Ortiz said “But thank God, today I was able to ride him back, and to be able to be in the winner’s circle is very special for me. Moving forward after this race, he’s a nice horse and he’s doing so good right now I think he’s doing better than ever. I expect a good year for him.”
The $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) Feb. 13 is a possibility for the 7-year-old son of Broken Vow’s next start.
“The horse will tell me. The plan is to go to it. The plan was to go to the next one, not this one, but he was doing so well. It was hard to pass up. When they’re hitting the ground like this and doing this well and feeling this good, you’re afraid they’re going to do something to hurt themselves. So, I took advantage and ran him in this race,” Orseno said “We’ll see about the next one. If he’s doing like this and is 100 percent, then yes.”