October 3, 2023

Clear Vision upsets Tropical Turf; Largent fourth off layoff

Clear Vision wins the Tropical Turf Stakes (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Odds-on comebacker Largent wound up a ring-rusty fourth behind 10.70-1 shot Clear Vision in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Prominent throughout with Julien Leparoux, the reformed claimer handed fledgling trainer Matthew Brice O’Connor his first graded stakes victory with his very first black-type runner.

O’Connor claimed Clear Vision for $25,000 out of a 6 1/2-length romp at Belmont Park Oct. 16, his second straight front-running win after a similar display at Saratoga. In his debut for new owner MeB Racing Stables, the Artie Schiller gelding placed second in the Dec. 4 Claiming Crown Emerald, a starter stakes.

The Tropical Turf therefore represented a class hike for Clear Vision, who had been unplaced in three stakes tries last winter. His only prior stakes credit was a third in the 2019 Parx Fall Derby, but the six-year-old reached a new career high in this stepping stone to the Jan. 29 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

Breaking alertly from post 2, Clear Vision grabbed the early lead from Flying Scotsman and Belgrano through a contested opening quarter in :23.62 on the firm turf. The trio continued to mix it up down the backstretch, when Belgrano headed Clear Vision at the half in :46.97. As Flying Scotsman began to retreat, Clear Vision regained the advantage from Belgrano passing six furlongs in 1:10.94.

Value Proposition, the logical alternative to Largent as the 2.10-1 second choice, had been held up in fourth. Jockey Paco Lopez, subbing for Irad Ortiz Jr. who took off mounts after a gate mishap Friday, turned Value Proposition loose rounding the far turn. The Chad Brown trainee made mild headway in the stretch to take second, but never got near enough to threaten the winner.

Clear Vision pulled away to a two-length decision while completing the mile in 1:35.36. Returning $23.40 to his backers, the bay improved his scorecard to 19-6-2-1, $251,296.

Largent, unhurried early, briefly moved in tandem with Value Proposition but couldn’t sustain it off the nearly year-long layoff. The 7-10 favorite settled for fourth, a length behind third-placer Belgrano, the 48.50-1 longest shot on the board. Rounding out the order under the wire were Call Curt, Flying Scotsman, and the tailed-off Phat Man.

Bred by Candy Meadows in Kentucky, Clear Vision is out of the Invincible Spirit mare Refreshing, a half-sister to Group 2-placed Drill Sergeant and Nobilis. His second dam, Irish highweight Dolydille, hails from the rich family of Sholokhov, Soldier of Fortune, and Intense Focus.