Pants On Fire Makes Dominating Return

Paco LopezTrainer Kelly Breen indicated early in the week that Lori and George Hall’s Pants On Fire was more than ready for his first start since late July, and the 4-year-old colt confirmed that March 3 at Gulfstream Park when drawing clear in the stretch for a 4 1/2-length victory in a one-mile allowance race.

The $67,100 allowance race got a lot of attention since it also marked the return of Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old Dialed In, winner of last year’s Florida Derby (gr. I). The colt finished fourth after a mild rally from last early in the race under jockey Javier Castellano.

Jockey Paco Lopez had Pants On Fire stalking in third down the backstretch behind a moderate pace of :47 3/5 for a half-mile. He cruised to the lead nearing the stretch in his first start since finishing fifth in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on July 31. The son of Jump Start finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in May. His biggest victory came in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.

Breen said: “I thought it was very good. I watched it on television and it looked awesome. I thought he was about as ready as I could get him. I thought he was training so well I didn’t think he’d need a race. It’s always pleasant when they run like you think they should.”

Trainer Nick Zito said of Dialed In’s performance: “Javier just said he was a little too rank. They went so slow. That’s the closest he’s been in a long while (to early lead). He likes to come from way out of it and kick in, but they were going so slow.

Pants On Fire paid $7.80 to win and covered the distance in 1:35.94 over the fast track.

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