07/02/2016 6:10PM

Delta Bluesman's Smile win worth Breeders' Cup Sprint berth

Adam Coglianese/Coglianese Photos
Delta Bluesman gained a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with Saturday's victory.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Delta Bluesman reasserted himself after being headed by Chief Lion on the turn, ultimately drawing away to a decisive 3 3/4-length victory over the 7-5 favorite Limousine Liberal in Saturday’s Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park. The six furlong Smile is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Delta Bluesman sprinted to the lead along the rail while stalked by Chief Lion from the outset. Chief Lion easily headed Delta Bluesman while still seemingly well in hand around the turn. But the latter fought back under vigorous urging from jockey Emisael Jaramillo, readily disposing of his early challenger once settling into the stretch and was not menaced thereafter.

Limousine Liberal sat a perfect trip behind the dueling leaders, bore out wide into the stretch then rallied mildly once finally switching leads near midstretch to finish second, a head in front of the tiring Chief Lion. 

Delta Bluesman, a 6-year-old gelded son of Wagons Limit, is trained by Jorge Navarro for Monster Racing Stables. The win was his first in a stakes and ninth in 43 career starts. He paid $5.00 after covering the distance in 1:08.94 over a track upgraded to fast earlier in the day.

Navarro said emphatically that he was extremely concerned when Delta Bluesman relinquished the lead on the turn.

“This horse can be a little chicken,” Navarro said. “I was amazed (seeing him come back again) when he dug in after that horse came around him. He doesn’t like horses outside him. Maybe he’s coming around like the horse we see train in the morning, because he really trains like a good horse.”

Navarro said he attributes Delta Bluesman’s recent success to getting him off the turf.

“I want to hit myself in the head because I wasn’t patient enough, every time that starter come around, I jammed him on the turf again.”

Navarro said he’ll give Delta Bluesman a “50-60-day break” and then make a plan that would likely include one or two starts prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

Pink Poppy led throughout before cruising to an easy three-length victory over the 4-5 Susie Bee to register a mild upset in the $75,000 Spook Express for fillies and mares on the turf. E B Ryder finished third.

Pink Poppy, who finished third behind Susie Bee in their previous meeting, posted her first stakes win for Arindel Farm and trainer Ronny Werner. Rafael Hernandez rode the winner, who paid $8.60.

Aire Bueno squeezed through a narrow opening along the rail near midstretch to register a three-quarter length victory over even-money favorite Hammers Terror in the $75,000 Miesque’s Approval on the turf. Pacesetter Star Commander held on for third.

Aire Bueno was ridden by Matthew Rispoli for trainer Charles (Chuck) Simon and returned $10.40.