01/24/2015 5:17PM

Barbados delivers as favorite in Hutcheson

Barbara D. Livingston
Barbados (left), ridden by Luis Saez, wins the Hutcheson Stakes by a half-length over X Y Jet on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Barbados became a graded stakes winner and earned every bit of that distinction, withstanding a stretch-long battle with X Y Jet before registering a half-length decision in Saturday’s $150,000 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park.

Barbados had won his two previous main-track starts by an average margin of four lengths, including the six-furlong Spectacular Bid here three weeks ago. And as a result, he was backed down to 3-5 favoritism in a scratched-reduced field of six 3-year-olds in the Grade 3 Hutcheson.

As expected, X Y Jet set the pace, with jockey Luis Saez rating Barbados within easy striking distance of the leader in the run down the backstretch. Barbados went after X Y Jet approaching the stretch, moved on even terms at the top of the lane, forged to a short advantage nearing the furlong marker, and never relinquished the lead while beginning to edge away at the end.

Big Family passed tired rivals to finish third, 7 1/2 lengths behind X Y Jet.

Barbados, a son of Speightstown owned by Suzanne Stables and trained by Michael Tomlinson, completed seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:24.39 and paid $3.40.

“It turned out to be a tougher race than it looked like it should have been on paper,” said Tomlinson. “And my hats off to the second-place horse; he dug in and tried hard. I asked Luis after the race if it was that hard, and he said once he got to the front, he measured the other horse, and he didn’t think he’d have gotten by him (Barbados) if they went around again. That’s a good sign.”

Tomlinson said he has no definitive plans for Barbados’s next start but said stretching him out around two turns is among the options.

“Physically, you look at this colt, and he tells you sprinter,” said Tomlinson. “It’s just stamped all over him. But on the bottom side of his pedigree, he’s bred to run from here to Atlanta. We’ll just see. We have plenty of options. Two turns is in the plans at some point in time. The Fountain of Youth is in four weeks, and if he comes out of this race as well as the last one, it wouldn’t be out of the question.”