No Nay Hudson Zips Five-Eighths in :54.60 at Gulfstream
The 2023-24 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park got off to a fast start Dec. 1, with the South Florida track’s widened and renovated turf course producing quick times.
Ken Ramsey’s Cleopatra’s Nile , trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., kicked off the meet with a first-race victory against maidens, completing a mile in 1:34.95, and the featured eighth race, a second-level allowance optional claimer went to stakes winner No Nay Hudson , who sizzled five furlongs in :54.60. His time was less than a second off Pay Any Price ‘s course record of :53.61, established on March 11, 2017.
A 3-year-old son of No Nay Never trained by Wesley Ward, No Nay Hudson won for the third time in 10 starts, pulling away from pacesetting Yes I Am Free by 1 1/2 lengths in the $64,000 race. He made $37,200 for owners Andrew Farm and For the People Racing Stable to push his lifetime earnings to $283,987.
The RJB Bloodstock-bred No Nay Hudson, out of the Malibu Moon mare Raw Silk , had scored earlier victories in the 5 1/2-furlong William Walker Stakes on the grass May 13 at Churchill Downs and a 4 1/2-furlong dirt maiden race as a juvenile at Keeneland in April 2022. He paid $9.20 to win in capturing Friday’s eighth race.
According to the track, there will no longer be run-ups in turf races before timing officially begins.
“I was excited to get him down here because he’s more of a five-furlong horse than a 5 1/2-furlong horse,” said Ward, who saddled No Nay Never for multiple graded stakes victories in the United States and Europe.
No Nay Hudson gave Lopez his second win of the day after his first success in race 4 aboard Hibiscus Stables’ Villegas Swing for trainer Steve Klesaris.
Five of the nine races on the first day of the Championship Meet came over Gulfstream’s synthetic Tapeta course and a pair apiece on dirt and turf.
“The turf course is amazing, very good,” Lopez told track publicity.
Jockey Edgard Zayas, who piloted Cleopatra’s Nile to victory, also told Gulfstream publicity the course seemed in good condition.
Gulfstream’s prior grass course experienced significant wear and tear, leading the track to add a synthetic surface in 2021 outside its turf course to lessen the use of the grass.
The Championship Meet, which lures more stables from other regions outside Florida for the winter months, follows the recently concluded Sunshine Meet.
Jose Ortiz, who rides primarily in New York from spring through fall, was one of numerous jockeys to score a single opening-day victory. He took the nightcap on Tapeta aboard Nothing But Pumps , trained by Antonio Sano for Gelfenstein Farm.
Racing continues Dec. 2 at Gulfstream with the In Reality and My Dear Girl divisions of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, both worth $300,000 at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. They are the first black-type races of a 68-stakes race schedule worth $14.875 million. The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) Jan. 27 and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 30 are two of the most prestigious of the meet’s 33 graded stakes.