Updated on 09/17/2011 11:46PM

Gulfstream: The Nth Degree picks up the pieces

Ryan McAlinden/EQUI-PHOTO
The Nth Degree (5) with Eddie Castro aboard, surges past Western Kind and Procreate (Rear) down the stretch to win the $50,000 Yankee Affair Stakes on at Gulfstream Park.

A suicidal pace duel between favorites Western Kind and Procreate, including an opening half-mile in an incredible 42.72 seconds, set the stage for The Nth Degree to upset the $50,000 Yankee Affair Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Western Kind, the 9-5 favorite, and Procreate, the defending champion and course-record holder, hooked up on the lead shortly after the start of the Yankee Affair and raced as a team for nearly the entire five furlongs on turf. The two leaders dueled through an opening quarter in 21.11 and continued their torrid clip until late stretch, at which point the grueling pace took its toll. The Nth Degree wore the pair down in the closing strides and scored a neck victory.

Western Kind, who upset Whenthedoveflies to win the Tampa Turf Dash in his previous start, outlasted Procreate by a half-length to finish second. The slow-starting All Hail Stormy and the entry of True Love's Secret and Lox and Kippers rounded out the order of finish.

The Nth Degree, a Colorado-bred son of Distorted Humor trained by Eduardo Caramori, paid $24.60 as the longest price on the board. He covered the distance in 54.55 over a firm course. Eddie Castro, who guided Miesque's Approval to his upset win over reigning Breeders' Cup Mile champion Artie Schiller the previous afternoon in Keeneland's Maker's Mark Mile, rode The Nth Degree.

"He's a closer and had a fast pace in front of him," Caramori said by phone from Keeneland.