Force Freeze pulls away in Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship
Force Freeze opened his seven-year-old season in grand fashion as he took command on the turn under Paco Lopez and drew away to a 3 ¾-length victory on Saturday in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes (G2).
Trained by Peter Walder for owner Saeed Naser al Romaithi, the Forest Camp gelding snapped a two-start winless skid dating to last July, that included runner-up finishes in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (G1) and the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
“It’s great to win this race here,” Walder said. “The people at Gulfstream Park have always been great to me. [Gulfstream President] Timmy Ritvo’s great.
“I’ve been coming here a long time and it means a lot to win this race at Gulfstream Park. But the Breeders’ Cup is the Breeders’ Cup. There’s only one way to erase that, and that’s by winning it. This is the first step.”
Force Freeze hustled out of the gate quickly and settled just off pacesetter Amanecer de Oro on the outside in second in the eight-horse field. He took charge on the turn and drew clear through the stretch for the victory, covering seven furlongs in 1:20.71 for his first career graded stakes triumph.
“I had so much confidence in my horse,” Lopez said. “He’s just so fast. I worked him a couple times and he worked unbelievable. I thought he would be able to go the extra distance. He’s so fast out of the gate. I was able to get perfect position. He was going so easily and when I asked him he just ran even faster.”
Troilus rallied three wide into the lane under jockey Elvis Trujillo to finish second, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Grade 1 winner Capt. Candyman Can in third.
“I told [Lopez] when you do make your move— if you end up getting the stalking trip we want—make it decisively. Don’t hesitate; just put them away. You’re the heavyweight champ and just knock them out.”
Force Freeze won for the eighth time from 22 starts with four seconds, three thirds, and $853,719 in earnings during five seasons on the track. Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Stables, he is one of ten winners from as many starters out of the stakes-winning It’s Freezing mare Antifreeze, who is a half brother to multiple stakes winner Barber.