02/09/2014 7:40PM

Gulfstream Park: Lochte rides rail to upset in Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Orlando Bocachica celebrates aboard Lochte after getting the first Grade 1 victory of his riding career in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on Sunday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Lochte stunned a big Sunday crowd with a 39-1 upset in giving his connections their first Grade 1 victory in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, the race that directly preceded the Donn Handicap.

Lochte raced just a few lengths off the pace before bursting through a rail opening after turning for home in the 1 1/8-mile race, finishing 2 3/4 lengths before Imagining, who rallied from well back. Orlando Bocachica was aboard the 4-year-old gelding, who returned $80.60 as the longest shot in a field of eight older horses.

“I had a very good trip,” Bocachica said.

Amira’s Prince, making his first start in more than 10 months, was third, three-quarters of a length behind Imagining and a neck before Tetradrachm, who set the pace for most of the trip.

“I thought we had a shot going in, and I thought his numbers were going up, and up, and up,” said an elated Marcus Vitali, who trains Lochte for Crossed Sabres Farm. “I want to go to Disneyland.”

For Vitali, who moved to Florida several years ago after spending most of his 25-year training career in New England, it was his first triumph in a graded stakes. For Bocachica, a native of Puerto Rico who has ridden in the United States since 1999, it was his first Grade 1 win and just his third in a graded event.

Lochte, a Kentucky-bred by Medaglia d’Oro, was coming off a 3 1/2-length victory in a first-level allowance on the Gulfstream turf. To the vast majority of horseplayers, that form paled in comparison to that of the favorites, many of them with a wealth of graded experience.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

After the top four, the order was Nikki’s Sandcastle, Charming Kitten, Summer Front, and Boisterous. Summer Front was the 2-1 favorite and never threatened.

The $2 exacta (1-7) paid $381.60, the $1 trifecta (1-7-6) returned $951, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-7-6-2) was worth $419.38.