11/08/2014 3:18PM

Bad Debt successfully defends Sunshine Millions Turf Preview title

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Adam Coglianese
Bad Debt defended his title Saturday in the Sunshine Millions Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park West.

MIAMI, Fla. – No matter what they call the race or where they run it, Bad Debt is simply unbeatable when it comes to racing against statebreds on the turf during the fall of the year in south Florida.

For the fourth time in the last four seasons, Bad Debt shipped to south Florida to win a restricted stakes on the grass during the tail end of the season. In 2011 and 2012, it was the Bonnie Heath Turf Championship at Calder. Last year, it was the inaugural Sunshine Millions Turf Preview at Gulfstream Park. And on Saturday, Bad Debt successfully defended that title, doing so over familiar ground at Gulfstream Park West (formerly known as Calder) when rallying to a hard-fought and popular half-length decision over Tryer in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf Preview.

The victory was the first for Bad Debt, a 7-year-old son of Grand Reward, since his even more impressive 6 1 /2-length triumph in the 2013 Florida Millions Turf Preview. He had finished third in both the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap to close out his 2013 campaign and Sunshine Millions Turf to kick off the current season.

Trainer David Jacobson claimed Bad Debt away from owner Robert Leibner and trainer Michael Trombetta for $80,000 out of a fourth-place finish early this summer at Belmont Park. But Bad Debt’s former owner and trainer were fortunate to win a five-way shake to get him back again for $62,500 six weeks later at Saratoga.

“It was like losing the family dog,” Trombetta said of losing Bad Debt via the claim box four months earlier. “We had him for a long time, and we were glad to get him back. This has been our target each season. He’s won it now each of the last four years.”

Bad Debt, who was ridden to victory by Paco Lopez, rated six lengths off the early pace set by Breitling Flyer in the 1 1/16-mile Turf Preview, rallied widest to challenge the leaders entering the stretch, gained command leaving the furlong grounds then withstood a final surge from Tryer. The latter, making his stakes debut, nearly returned quick dividends for owner-trainer Milt Wolfson, who haltered Tryer for $30,000 just five weeks earlier. Breitling Flyer finished a tiring third in a scratch reduced field of seven older turf specialists.

Bad Debt paid $3.20 after completing the distance in 1:41.92 over the firm course.

“They were playing a little cat and mouse up front, and it made me a little nervous, but he got it done,” Trombetta said when asked about the trip.

Swinger's Party wins Distaff Preview Stakes

Swinger’s Party kicked off Saturday’s rich Sunshine Millions Preview program with a three-quarter-length triumph over the 16-1 Flutterby in the $100,000 Distaff Preview Stakes. Don’tcallmecharley finished nearly four lengths further back in third.

Devil’s Cave, one of two horses saddled in the race along with the winner by trainer Marty Wolfson, finished a tiring and well-beaten fifth as the 7-5 choice.

Swinger’s Party, a 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, had been idle since finishing far back after setting the pace in the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap on July 27 at Saratoga. She had won two of her three previous starts over the Gulfstream Park West strip with her lone loss a second-place finish in the Nancy’s Glitter Handicap in June.

Swinger’s Party raced a mile in 1:40.59 over the fast track and returned $10.40.

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