As a group 1-winning millionaire, Extravagant Kid brought the longest list of accomplishments into the $100,000 Janus Stakes Dec. 31 at Gulfstream Park, but Carotari brought the speed, and that quickness proved too much for Extravagant Kid and six other grass sprinters.
Taking charge into the turn of the five-furlong turf dash, William Branch’s Carotari opened up breathing room on the turn and rolled to 1 3/4-length victory over Extravagant Kid. The latter loomed briefly in early stretch with a wide rally but flattened out, though he lasted by a head over show finisher Smokin’ Jay .
Carotari ($4) was officially hand-timed covering five furlongs under Luis Saez on a firm course in :55.78, more than three seconds faster than an inaccurate time of :59.07 initially listed by Gulfstream’s error-prone timing system. The official race chart did not list any hand-timed fractions after implausible splits of :23.22 and :47.38 were displayed on the track television feed during the running.
With the victory, Carotari, a gelded son of Artie Schiller who turns 6 on Jan. 1, improved to 4-1-0 in five starts on the Gulfstream Park turf course. His local efforts include back-to-back wins in the Silks Run Stakes in 2020-21, and a runner-up finish in the 2020 World of Trouble Turf Sprint when he was beaten a neck by grade 2 winner Texas Wedge.
“It’s good to get him back down here. It’s a track he really seems to do well over during the winter,” winning trainer Brian Lynch said. “It’s nice to get him back rolling. He came out of a good race at Keeneland. This was an ideal distance for him, ideal timing, so it’s just neat to have him back on track. Now we’ve got a loaded horse for the winter down here.”
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He 8-6-3 in 24 starts overall with earnings of $556,863.
“I think as he’s gotten older he’s getting better and better,” Lynch said. “I think this year coming up could be his best year. We’re pretty excited about him.”
Bred In Kentucky by Tom Evans and Pam Clark, Carotari is one of four winners out of the Rahy mare Soother from eight foals. She also produced Panamanian stakes winner Fuerza Naval, and some of her younger unraced foals include a Point of Entry filly born 2019 named Canisy, a colt by Daddy Long Legs foaled in 2020, and an Enticed filly born in 2021.
A $6,000 yearling purchase by Last Jump Farm from the Trackside Farm consignment at The October Sale at Fasig-Tipton in 2017, Carotari later fell short of his reserve when stalled at $130,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales’ 2018 Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training from the TIP Thoroughbred Investment Possibilities consignment.
Always Shopping, Miss J McKay Capture Stakes for Fillies and Mares
Four races later on Friday, another time needed adjusting after the $100,000 Via Borghese Stakes, which Always Shopping gamely won by a nose over Harajuku . Beautiful Lover ran third, three lengths back.
The Todd Pletcher-trained and Repole Stable-owned daughter of Awesome Again , who turns 6 Jan. 1, was hand-timed racing 1 3/8 miles on grass in 2:13.86 under Tyler Gaffalione. A time of 2:21.39 was initially posted.
“I think (Harajuku) put a nose to a head in front of her, and she fought back. It was a determined effort,” Pletcher said. “I was so proud of her. She fought hard today. She got in a good stalking position from an outside post and stalked the pace. I thought they had her surrounded at the top of the stretch, but you could see her dig in and fight for the win.”
Always Shopping edges Harajuku in the Via Borghese
She paid $7 to win in notching her fourth stakes victory on the local turf course. She raced without blinkers after wearing them for the previous 10 starts of her 21-race career. She is a six-time winner overall with earnings of $623,575 with her highest-level score coming in the 2019 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Always Shopping is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Stopshoppingmaria .
“She’s had a great career and she seems to really love Gulfstream. It’s great to see her come back,” Pletcher said. “I’ll talk to (owner) Mike (Repole) and see what the plan is. She’s probably going to be (bred) here at some point, but we might have time to run her one more time. We’ll see what Mike wants to do.”
The New Year’s Eve program concluded with Miss J McKay ($8.20) rallying to take the $100,000 Abundantia Stakes under Gaffalione. Drapes was second and Strong Odor third. It, too, needed a revised time, with the Christophe Clement trainee hand-timed covering five furlongs in :55.86
Miss J McKay pulls clear late in the Abundantia Stakes
“Once she got clear run, she kicked it in nicely,” Gaffalione said. “We got fanned out a little bit, but she was much the best today.”
Having an unlucky trip was favored Miss Auramet , who ran sixth.
The winner, a daughter of Hangover Kid who turns 5 on Saturday, races for owners Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, Tony Weintraub, and Brandon Dalinka.