Field Pass finds room in Dania Beach; Cheermeister wires Sweetest Chant

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Before the Holy Bull was run Saturday at Gulfstream Park, a pair of $100,000 turf races, the Dania Beach and Sweetest Chant, were run over a course rated good, with both resulting in mild upsets. They were among five stakes, all for 3-year-olds, held on a 12-race card.

Dania Beach

Field Pass ($26.60) and jockey Paco Lopez squeezed through rivals in deep stretch when pushing past front-running Get Smokin for a hard-earned victory in the 11th running of the Dania Beach.

Making his first start in more than three months, Field Pass was winning for the first time since a maiden race at Saratoga in July. The Maryland-bred colt had run well in most of his four subsequent starts when going winless.

“He ran a great race today,” said Mike Maker, who trains the gray Lemon Drop Kid colt for the Three Diamonds Farm of Kirk Wycoff. “He ran to the expectations we had for him last year. The time off did him wonders.”

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The victory came one Saturday after Maker won the biggest turf race of the Gulfstream championship meet, the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, with Zulu Alpha.

“So far, so good,” said a smiling Maker.

Field Pass saved ground through the first turn before tipping out near the half-mile pole. Deftly maneuvered by Lopez to the inside of South Bend, he finally got past Get Smokin by a neck when completing the one-mile distance in 1:35.70. Get Smokin saved second by a head over South Bend.

Homeland, the 8-5 favorite in a field of 10 colts and geldings, found traffic after turning for home and flattened out to finish eighth.

The next Gulfstream stakes in this division is the Grade 3 Palm Beach on Feb. 29.

Sweetest Chant

Cheermeister ($17.20) was sent straight to the front and never looked back, winning the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant by three-quarters of a length over a late-closing Micheline.

Rating kindly for Emisael Jaramillo, Cheermeister gave her trainer, Armando De La Cerda, his first graded victory since La Tia captured the Grade 1 Matriarch in November 2014.

“They went in 24-and-change for the opening quarter-mile,” noted De La Cerda, “and I know it’s pretty soft turf, but she was doing it so easy.”

With a quarter-mile to go, both favorites were poised to strike, but neither Moral Reasoning (3-2) nor She’s My Type (9-5) kicked on. Instead, it was Cheermeister motoring home to hold Micheline safe, with Ivyetsu also finishing well to be third in a field of eight fillies.

Cheermeister, owned by Teresa and David Palmer, finished a mile in 1:37.25 for her third triumph in four career starts. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Bodemeister also led gate to wire in the ungraded Wait a While on opening weekend of the Gulfstream championship meet before fading to 10th behind She’s My Type and Moral Reasoning in her lone subsequent start, the Jan. 4 Ginger Brew.

“She was much more relaxed today,” De La Cerda said.

The next Gulfstream stakes in this division is the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride on Feb. 29.