Paco Wins Stake on Ribo Bobo

Ribo Bobo and jockey Paco Lopez win the Sunshine Millions Sprint by 1 3/4 lengths SaturdayRibo Bobo won 10 times in 11 starts last year, climbing his way from $6,250 claimers to stakes races. He started 2014 on Saturday with another victory, in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park, and now his owner, Ron Lombardi, is hoping to take him to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen.

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“That’s my dream,” Lombardi said in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle after Ribo Bobo’s latest tour de force.

Jason Servis, who trains Ribo Bobo, didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic about running on synthetic, but Ribo Bobo seemingly can do no wrong of late. Since Servis and Lombardi, who races as Mr Amore Stable, claimed him back for $6,250 here last March – winning a six-way shake – Ribo Bobo has lost just once while winning stakes at Gulfstream, Monmouth, and Laurel.

“I stay out of his way. He does the rest,” Servis said. “When he got to four, five, six wins in a row – I was picking my spots with him, like going to Penn National – I think he finally said, ‘Oh, I’ve really got this now.’ ”

On Saturday, Ribo Bobo ($4.40), the favorite, settled just behind and to the outside of pacesetter Star Harbour, moved effortlessly to take the lead turning into the stretch, and drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths over My Happy Way, with Star Harbour fading to third, another half-length back.

Bear Tough Tiger was fourth and was followed by Grande Shores, Black Diamond Cat, Close It Out, Fort Loudon, and Apriority.

Paco Lopez rode Ribo Bobo, who covered six furlongs in 1:09.16.

Ribo Bobo, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 16 times in 49 starts and has earned more than $650,000, with almost $400,000 of that coming in the past 13 months.

Ribo Bobo has won 11 times in his last 12 starts, the only loss in that streak a second-place finish in the Fabulous Strike at Penn National in November. His 10 wins in 2013 tied for second among North American runners behind an 11-time winner in Puerto Rico.