The Brother Slew upsets Clasico del Caribe at 45-1

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Brother Slew, the lesser regarded of the three Venezuelan representatives in the $200,000 Clasico del Caribe, set off a raucous celebration while lighting up the tote board in the process after holding off Gran Omero to upset the main event on Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe program at Gulfstream Park.

The Brother Slew and jockey Paco Lopez had to survive an inquiry and claim of foul by Javier Castellano, the rider of Gran Omero, before the result was made official. Gran Omero also represented Venezuela in the Clasico del Caribe, along with Doctor Sotelo.

Although Venezuela swept the first two placings in the Clasico, it was Mexico who dominated the afternoon, winning the first four stakes on the program including the co-featured Copa Confraternidad with last year’s Clasico winner Kukulkan.

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The Brother Slew came into the Clasico with just one victory in six previous outings. He had finished a distant third in Group 1 races in each of his last two starts and was racing on Lasix for the first time on Sunday. The Venezuelan-bred son of Slew’s Tizzy raced within easy striking distance of pacesetter Papa Candelo from the outset, readily overtook the leader after racing wide into the stretch, edged clear, then held off Gran Omero while lugging in under a right-hand stick and putting that one in tight quarters near the finish line.

The Brother Slew is owned and trained by Paul Valery. He completed a mile and one eighth over a fast track in 1:51.76 and paid $92.80.

“This is the best thing that ever happened in my life. Just the opportunity to come here to Miami and win with this horse at Gulfstream Park is a dream come true,” said Valery. “I said when I bought this horse he was going to be the winner of the Clasico del Caribe. I didn’t worry about the inquiry because either way, win or second, for me he was a big winner.”

Kukulkan romps in Copa Confraternidad

Kukulkan paved the way for team Mexico’s big day, coasting to a six length victory over Kandinsky and three other overmatched rivals in the $100,000 Copa Confraternidad. Kukulkan became the second horse from Mexico to sweep the Clasico del Caribe and Confraternidad in consecutive years. His stablemate Jala Jala completed the same feat here last season. Both horses are trained by Fausto Gutierrez for owner-breeder Cuadra San Jorge.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. took Kukulkan in hand with the issue no longer in doubt in the final furlong. Kukulkan, who was graded stakes-placed earlier this season in the U.S., paid $2.10 as the prohibitive favorite.

“At this level, he is a champion of these horses,” said Gutierrez. “If we are being honest, the competition was not tough for him. We have to plan to run here in a good race, maybe a [Grade] 3.”

Kukulkan was the first of two winners on the day for Gutierrez and Cuadra San Jorge, whose 3-year-old filly Letruska led throughout to easily defeat males in the $85,000 Copa Invitacional del Caribe. The win was the seventh in as many starts for the Kentucky-bred daughter of Super Saver who captured a pair of Group 1 races in Mexico by a combined margin of 23 1/2 lengths earlier this summer.

Letruska returned $5.20 as the second choice with her final time of 2:04.01 for 1 1/4 miles, .18 seconds faster than Kukulkan covered the same distance. She was ridden to victory by Emisael Jaramillo.

After the race, Gutierrez said he also plans to keep Letruska in South Florida to run against Grade 3 competition later this winter.

Genubi Asquifar, Sacamandu also win for Mexico

The Mexican flag was also proudly displayed on two other occasions during the festive afternoon, following victories by Genubi Asquifar in the $86,500 Copa Dama del Caribe and Sacamandu in the $115,000 Copa Velocidad del Caribe.

Genubi Asquifar ($11) rallied from just off the pace to a 1 1/2-length decison over another Mexican-bred, Laika, in the Copa Dama. Paco Lopez rode the winner for trainer Efrain Loza.

Sacamandu led a sweep of the first two placings for Mexico in the Confederacion Hipica, controlling all the pace en route to a 3 3/4-length win over 5-2 co-choice Ferragamo. Despite winning his last two starts and being Group 1-placed earlier in the year, Sacamandu was overlooked in the wagering, returning $67 to win.