02/21/2015 5:02PM

C. Zee wins Gulfstream Park Sprint on short rest

Barbara D. Livingston
C. Zee, ridden by Edgard Zayas, wins the Gulfstream Park Sprint by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – C. Zee may not have gotten the trip that trainer Stanley Gold drew up on the chalkboard. But the hard-knocking speedster was good enough to wear down the Grade 1-placed Happy My Way to register a convincing 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint.

C. Zee was wheeling back on 13 days’ rest in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint, having finished a troubled second against high-level optional-claiming company in his 4-year-old debut Feb. 8. With Edgard Zayas aboard, C. Zee contested the early pace inside of Happy May Way before dropping several lengths back after Mean Season rushed to the lead approaching the turn.

C. Zee was urged back into contention while saving ground into the stretch, angled out between horses for clearance near the eighth pole, then wore down Happy My Way to win going away. The victory was the fourth in 14 starts for C. Zee, a homebred son of Elusive Bluff who is trained by Stanley Gold for Jacks or Better Farm. Each of those wins has come over his home course at Gulfstream.

Happy My Way raced well off the rail, disputing the early pace with C. Zee, withstood a brief challenge on the turn from Mean Season, settled into the stretch with a clear advantage, but proved no match for the winner. Speechify raced wide and had no rally, finishing another 3 1/4 lengths back in third.

Weekend Hideaway, the 8-5 favorite, was never a serious factor, finishing a disappointing fifth in the field of seven older horses. Mean Season, who entered the Sprint unbeaten and untested in three starts but idle for nearly a year, broke slowly, rushed briefly to the lead exiting the backstretch, stopped badly, and was vanned off.

C. Zee paid $14.20 after completing 6 1/2 furlongs over a fast but cuppy track in 1:17.84.

“I told Edgard to go for the lead, get off the rail, and go from there,” said Gold. “He had a terrible trip last time; he got taken out of the race at the quarter pole. He recovered, he was a half a length short, so I didn’t lose faith in him. Edgard took a lot of dirt getting him out when it got tight in the stretch, so he deserves a lot of the credit.”

Gold said he had no concerns about bringing C. Zee back on two weeks’ rest for the Sprint.

“He hadn’t been off that long, he was fresh, the race didn’t really take a lot out of him, and I thought he’d be better coming back this time,” said Gold.