01/19/2013 5:25PM

Gulfstream Park: Off the Jak gives Parbhoo first win of the day in Sunshine Millions Sprint

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Barbara D. Livingston
Off the Jak wins the Sunshine Millions Sprint under jockey Jose Alvarez.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - In what was perhaps a harbinger of things to come later in the evening, trainer Shivananda Parbhoo sent out Off the Jak to register a three-quarter-length decision over an unlucky Bahamian Squall in Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

Gulfstream was to play host Saturday evening to the Eclipse Awards ceremonies where Parbhoo’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Trinniberg was favored to win the award as champion Sprinter in 2012.

Off the Jak, a 5-year-old son of With Distinction, benefited from a nicely judged ride by jockey Jose Alvarez. Settling just off the early pace set by the slow-breaking Star Harbor, Off the Jak advanced wide to take command in early stretch, edged clear, then withstood a final surge from Bahamian Squall. The latter dropped back between horses during the early stages of the six-furlong Sprint and then finished best of all once angled wide and into the clear on the final turn.

Big Drama finished another half-length back in third.

Off the Jak paid $28.20 despite having finished a game second behind Indiano three weeks earlier in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector. Final time for the distance over a sloppy track was 1:10.27.

“There’s something about sprinters, I just can’t train a distance horse,” Parbhoo, who trains Off the Jak for his daughter Sherry, quipped in the winner’s circle after the race. “Hopefully one day I’ll learn.”

Parbhoo said Off the Jak has continued to just get better with each successive start.

“He’s more relaxed every time he comes out and that’s what I like about him,” said Parbhoo. “Coming to the race today the groom actually had to pull him to get him over, the same thing last time. But I tell you when he goes in that gate, he’s a totally different horse. He got a good trip. I just told Alvarez not to get on the rail, that’s all the instructions I gave him.”

Parbhoo then reflected about the possibility of winning an Eclipse Award with Trinniberg later Saturday night.

“It was a very big day for us, and hopefully it will be a very big night and we win the Eclipse,” said Parbhoo.