December 2, 2023

Sharp Azteca draws off in Gulfstream Park Handicap

Sharp Azteca winning the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) on February 11 (c) Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography

Sharp Azteca contested the pace until the conclusion of the far turn and drew off convincingly in Saturday’s $350,000 Gulfstream Park H. (G2), scoring easily by 4 ½ lengths. Edgard Zayas was up on the Jorge Navarro trainee.

“It worked out perfect for him,” Zayas said. “I was a little worried because I didn’t really want to go to the lead because he needs a horse to be a target. When he gets the lead he gets kind of lazy. But it set up perfect. When the other horse [Blofeld] went to the lead, it set up well…Coming to the turn I hit him twice and he picked it up and after that it was all over.”

Off as the 2-1 second choice, the 4-year-old colt finished a one-turn mile in 1:34.55 following splits of :23.61, :46.21 and 1:10.05.

“He’s a runner,” Navarro said. “The way this horse is, he wants to bury you down. If you look him in the eye, he’s going to bury you down. Every jockey that gets on top of him, they tell me the same thing.”

Awesome Slew rallied belatedly for second at 6-1, three lengths better than 8-5 favorite Tommy Macho, who came under a ride while losing ground into the far turn and re-rallied mildly for a minor award.

A Kentucky-bred son of Freud, Sharp Azteca was exiting a runner-up in the December 26 Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita. The dark bay captured the November 19 City of Laurel two back and recorded his first stakes tally in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He’s now earned $576,740 from a 10-5-3-0 record.

Sharp Azteca is out of the unraced Saint Liam mare So Sharp, a half-sister to Grade 1 runner-up Sister Girl Blues, the dam of 2015 Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line.

Navarro plans to ship to Dubai for $1 million Godolphin Mile (G2) on March 25 and will then point Sharp Azteca to the Met Mile (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.