Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Shining Copper looked beaten once 30-1 shot One Go All Go headed him in deep stretch of Saturday’s $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (G2), but the Mike Maker veteran gamely fought back to reclaim the advantage on the line.
That wasn’t the only plot twist in Gulfstream Park’s 1 1/16-mile turf test. Right out of the gate, 3-5 favorite Heart to Heart half-reared, and the confirmed front runner found himself in an unfamiliar position behind horses early.
Thus 5-1 pace rival Shining Copper found himself with an unexpectedly clear lead through an opening quarter in :24.43 on the good turf. Shakhimat advanced to press the issue as Shining Copper clocked :48.52 and 1:12.33, but could not maintain his position swinging for home. Shakhimat then left the door open for the rail-stalking One Go All Go to peel out and burst free.
No sooner had Shining Copper gotten away from Shakhimat than One Go All Go ranged up to accost him. Receiving a six-pound weight concession, and apparently having all the momentum, the longshot collared Shining Copper. The upset winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Derby (G2) at odds of 35-1, One Go All Go was on the verge of furnishing another big payout.
But the longtime leader would not give in so easily. Responding to Jose Ortiz, who is widely expected to be honored with the Eclipse Award as champion jockey, Shining Copper found a little bit extra to force his head back in front in a final time of 1:43.44.
All Included did his best work late for third, with Team Colors fourth. Shakhimat, Diamond Bachelor, Heart to Heart, and Summer Causeway rounded out the order of finish, and the main-track-only Beneficiary didn’t get the surface switch.
The eight-year-old Shining Copper has now won three straight, including the November 23 River City H. (G3) last out, and four of his past five. His only loss in this span was his third in the September 6 Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs, his comeback from a 13-month layoff.
A former pacemaker for champion Big Blue Kitten, he held on better than expected for third in the 2015 Arlington Million (G1) and fourth in the United Nations (G1). Shining Copper was competing on his own right during a limited 2016 campaign for Chad Brown, when just missing in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) and notching his first stakes score in the Lure at Saratoga before being sidelined.
Shining Copper has bankrolled $817,449 from his 32-9-4-7 line, including at least one stakes credit in each of the last seven years. He’s also placed in the 2012 Generous (G3), 2013 Jersey Derby and James W. Murphy, and 2014 Remington Green.
By Aragorn and out of the Chilean-bred Winged Victory mare La Minuta, Shining Copper is bound for the March 3 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup at Garrison Savannah.
Earlier on the Gulfstream grass, Alex G. Campbell Jr.’s homebred Ultra Brat earned her first graded victory in the $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3).
Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Nik Juarez, the 4-1 fourth choice in the six-horse field carved out an ideal trip. The Uncle Mo filly kept close tabs on Gianna’s Dream through leisurely fractions of :26.37 and :51.42, and Juarez turned her loose as the leader reached six furlongs in 1:15.63. That was the decisive move, for Ultra Brat quickly struck the front and beat 8-5 favorite Dream Dancing to the punch. Ultra Brat had 1 3/4 lengths to spare at the wire while finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.35.
Dream Dancing, reserved in fourth early, crept closer on the backstretch. Although she loomed down the lane, the favorite couldn’t catch the well-timed Ultra Brat and settled for second. King’s Ghost rallied from last for third, followed by Inside Out, Abbreviate, and Gianna’s Dream.
Ultra Brat now joins half-sister It’s Tea Time (by Dynaformer), winner of the off-the-turf Lake Placid (G3) and a neck runner-up in the Ashland (G1) in 2010, on the graded stakes podium. It’s Tea Time had tried the Marshua’s River herself in 2012, winding up ninth, but her younger half-sibling got the job done. Ultra Brat’s two prior stakes victories came in the 2016 Christiecat at Belmont Park and Tropical Park Oaks over this course and distance. Sidelined for 11 months, she reappeared with a fourth in the November 26 Autumn Days at Aqueduct and took a step forward here. Her resume now reads 11-5-1-0, $272,733.
Out of the winning Storm Cat mare Prof. McGonagall, Ultra Brat counts Grade 1 victress Rootentootenwooten as her second dam. This is the extended family of two-time champion female sprinter Groupie Doll, whose first foal Tapability finished seventh in his career debut at Fair Grounds Saturday. Ultra Brat’s fourth dam, Floral Park, is a stakes-winning full sister to high-class racemare and producer Flower Bowl, dam of Graustark, His Majesty, and Hall of Famer Bowl of Flowers.