12/27/2014 6:06PM

Catalina Red breaks track record winning Pasco Stakes

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Catalina Red, ridden by Daniel Centeno, covers seven furlongs in a track-record 1:21.40 in the Pasco for 2-year-olds.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Catalina Red proved he is as game as he is talented on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs when he overcame drifting a bit wide into the stretch and gamely ran down leader X Y Man near the wire for a hard-earned neck victory in the $65,000 Pasco Stakes.

Catalina Red covered seven furlongs of the co-feature in 1:21.40, a stakes and track record for the distance, while posting his second straight stakes win here.

X Y Man, who had defeated Catalina Red in a maiden race  at Gulfstream Park two races back, went to the front early and set a blistering pace, leading through a half-mile  in  44.54 seconds and six furlongs in  1:08.81. Catalina Red, who had been stalking four wide, moved up outside Charlie’s Brother out of the turn but drifted a bit wide at that point before being dropped back to the inside by jockey Daniel Centeno. Once straightened , the Chad Stewart –trained Catalina Red  went after the leader with a vengeance and with Centeno applying stiff left-hand pressure, she lowly reeled in X Y Man, getting up in the final strides.

Charlie’s Brother weakened in the drive after attending the early pace and finished third with Dekabrist a distant fourth.

Catalina Red returned $3.20 as the choice of the field of six 2-year-old  colts and geldings. 

Irish Jasper scores in Gasparilla      

Sweeping up four wide out of the turn, 7-1 Irish Jasper responded to strong handling from Victor Lebron to wear down stubborn pacesetter Huasca in the shadow of the wire for a game half-length victory in the $55,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Trained by Derek Ryan, Irish Jasper, a daughter of First Defence,  scored her third win from four career starts while returning $16.80. Huasca, sent off as the second choice, cut out early fractions of 22.33 and 45.45 despite racing greenly and appearing to shy and half-hop a shadow nearing the turn of the seven-furlong co-feature. She still held the lead after six furlongs in  1:09.92 but Irish Jasper wore her down late with Lebron putting up a vigorous ride.

Coco’s Wildcat was almost three lengths back in third with A.P.’s Ride a tiring fourth.