In his first start since capturing last September’s Hopeful Stakes, Competitive Edge rolled home to an 8 1/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Tamarac Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Friday.
The son of Super Saver broke alertly under John Velazquez and immediately went to the front, setting fractions of :22.90 and : 45.44, all the while being pressured by Mr. Jordan, who was also returning from a layoff. Those two remained within a half-length of each other until the far turn, when Competitive Edge gained the clear advantage and drew off.
Renombre finished another 8 1/2 lengths back in third. The winning time was 1:24.20.
“It was the kind of effort we were hoping for,” trained Todd Pletcher said. “I wasn’t sure tactically how it was going to play out. It looked like kind of a match race on paper. We didn’t want to do anything foolish, but when he kind of put himself in the right spot, it looked like Gabriel Saez (aboard Mr. Jordan) was kind of thinking about easing back off of him a little bit, so it worked out well. I think he ran well. He beat a quality horse. It served its purpose.”
Mr. Jordan, a son of Kantharos, was making his first start since kicking clear to win the Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 29. The colt underwent surgery at the end of last year to repair an injured check ligament that he suffered during a December workout.
“No excuses,” Saez said of his mount. “He broke good. I think the layoff might have cost him a little. The winner is a nice horse.”
Pletcher said the one-turn Pat Day Mile, formerly the Derby Trial, on Kentucky Derby day could be the next target for Competitive Edge.
“What we talked about prior to this was the Pat Day Mile as a possibility, which, timing-wise, is good, and it’s a gradual stretch-out, so that’s what we might do,” he said. “I still think he’s a horse that will run farther, but he’s a very laid back horse, very relaxed.”
Competitive Edge, favored at 3-5, returned $3.40 to win, while Mr. Jordan paid $2.10 place.
Edited Gulfstream Park release with additonal content by Dick Downey