01/02/2016 4:14PM

Life Imitates Art up by head in Dania Beach

Barbara D. Livingston
Life Imitates Art, ridden by Joel Rosario, narrowly prevails in the Grade 3 Dania Beach for 3-year-olds.

Life Imitates Art found a seam between horses before persevering for a narrow victory Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

After rating just off the pace in the 7 1/2-furlong turf race, Life Imitates Art and jockey Joel Rosario split a pair of tiring longshots when straightening for home. From there, the final furlong was hotly contested by Life Imitates Art and Isotherm, with Life Imitates Art proving a head best while racing closest to the rail. Urban Bourbon was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third in the field of 10 3-year-olds.

Life Imitates Art “put me in a good spot on the backside,” said Rosario. “I was just looking for some room. He’s a nice horse, trying really hard.”

Life Imitates Art, a bay Florida-bred by More Than Ready, finished in 1:30.42 over a firm course and returned $9 as fourth choice. Chad Brown trains the colt for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence.

The triumph not only was the first in a stakes for Life Imitates Art, but also the first time the colt actually has finished anything but second in five career starts. A maiden victory at Belmont Park in October came via disqualification.

“Joel fit the horse perfectly and gave him a great ground-saving trip,” said Brown. “When he called on the horse, the horse really responded and I’m really proud of him.”

The $100,000 Kitten’s Joy on Jan. 30 is the next Gulfstream stakes for 3-year-old turf runners.

The $2 exacta (4-1) paid $38.80, the $1 trifecta (4-1-7) returned $127.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-1-7-10) was worth $57.52.

Brown, who won the 2015 renewal with Night Prowler, had one other starter in this 11th running of the Dania Beach: Ray’s The Best, who was no factor when finishing sixth as the 5-2 favorite.

The Dania Beach was the first graded stakes victory of the year for Brown, whose stable accounted for 33 graded wins in 2015. The race came some 40 minutes before Flexibility, also owned by Klaravich and Lawrence, won the Grade 3 Jerome at Aqueduct as a heavy favorite for Brown.