04/29/2017 7:54PM

Cali Thirty Seven wins second consecutive Powder Break

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Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Cali Thirty Seven paid $11.40 to win the Powder Break Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

Cali Thirty Seven turned what appeared to be certain defeat into an exhilarating and much-deserved victory late Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park. She reasserted herself after relinquishing the lead to 8-5 favorite Stormy Victoria to successfully defend her title in the $100,000 Powder Break Stakes.

Cali Thirty Seven, who led throughout to register a clear-cut decision in the 2016 Powder Break, used similar tactics in defense of her title, quickly sprinting to command and showing the way under jockey C. J. McMahon. Her cause seemed hopeless after she was engaged and ultimately passed by Stormy Victoria near midstretch. But Cali Thirty Seven would not be denied, digging down bravely to fend off the public’s choice and stick her neck in front at the wire.

Stormy Victoria was attempting to give jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Christophe Clement a sweep of the afternoon’s two stakes races, having already combined to win the Grade 3 Miami Mile earlier in the day.  Gaffalione gave Stormy Victoria a perfect trip, saving ground on the final turn before easing out to engage and briefly pass Cali Thirty Seven, only to drop a heart-breaking decision at the end.  Somethingelse finished third without threatening the top two.

Cali Thirty Seven is trained by Joe Orseno for the partnership of Crush Racing and D J Stable. She paid $11.40.

"Off of her last race, we decided to keep her here and get her ready for this,” Orseno said. “We skipped a race on Florida Derby Day to get her ready for this. She trained fantastic for this race. This is the first time I rode him (C.J. McMahon) and he did a great job.  He did what I told him. (I said) ‘put her on the lead and nurse her along and she’ll be running at the end. Don’t worry if they come to you. She’ll be running at the end.’ And he listened. A lot of jocks might have gotten a little panicky and asked for her to go sooner, but he didn’t and I think that’s what won it for us.”