09/07/2016 4:59PM

Giant Run responds to Bravo's urging in Centaur

Email

Trainer Tom Albertrani’s first starter at Indiana Grand was a winner as Joe Bravo headily piloted Giant Run to victory in the $206,800 Centaur Stakes on Wednesday afternoon.

Giant Run had been first or second early in the 10 starts since his six-furlong dirt-sprint debut more than one year ago, but Bravo eased Giant Run back to fifth behind a fast pace, asked his mount for run at the five-sixteenths pole, got it, and went on to a solid three-quarter length score in the Centaur.

“He relaxed very well for me today,” Bravo said. “It helps when you’re on the best horse.”

Pilot House, tracked by Back Togetheragain, Holding Gold, and Uncle Brenniee, set out for the early lead and went into the turn at a good clip, and Bravo was ready to adjust tactics on his habitual front-runner.

“You’ve got to keep your eyes open when the gates open,” he said. And so as the leaders snapped off a quarter-mile in 23.51 seconds and a half in a demanding 46.91, Bravo scraped paint in fifth, biding his time.

Giant Run has talent, and there was a good turn of foot waiting inside a horse that generally had used his speed early: When Bravo let him go, Giant Run descended quickly on the leaders, basically winning the race while cornering into the homestretch. He was in command at the furlong grounds and finished with plenty of energy to hold off Surgical Strike, who nosed out  Zapperini for second.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Get handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

Surgical Strike, breaking from post 10, was caught three wide around the first turn and ran decently in defeat, as did Zapperini, who rallied from mid-pack in his career debut. Giant Run, the narrow 2-1 favorite, paid $6.80 to win and was timed in 1:35.68 for one mile on firm turf.

Albertrani trains Giant Run, a $200,000 yearling buy, for owners Robert Baker and William Mack. Giant Run, by Giant’s Causeway and out off the Polish Numbers mare Who Did It and Run, was bred in Maryland by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds. From 12 starts he has compiled a 4-3-1 record after scoring his biggest payday in the Centaur.

Victory Jara upsets A.J. Foyt Stakes

Victor Jara edged past pacesetting favorite Derby Express to win the $100,000 A.J. Foyt for Indiana-bred grass-route horses and cap the stakes action Wednesday at Indiana Grand.  A 5-year-old Kingswood Farm homebred, by Notional and out of Double Faced, by More than Ready, Victor Jara was ridden by Fernando de la Cruz and is trained by Joseph D. Davis. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.07 and paid $18.40 to win.