09/30/2017 1:50PM

Nicks notches milestone when Soutache wins In Reality

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Soutache paid $2.20 in winning the In Reality Stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Ralph Nicks became the third trainer to sweep the open division of the Florida Sire Stakes with two different horses after his 1-9 Soutache turned back a stretch-long bid from Tip Sheet to win Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Nicks won the opening leg of the Sire Series, which began at Calder in 1982, with Phantom Ro in the six-furlong Dr. Fager. Soutache completed the sweep after winning both the seven-furlong Affirmed and 1 1/16-mile In Reality.

Soutache, a homebred son of Backtalk owned by GoldMark Farm, tripped out perfectly under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who rated the prohibitive favorite behind early leaders Highborn and Maranatha.

Gaffalione continued to bide his time with Soutache after the slow-breaking His Name Is Sue rushed up, rankly, to take control down the backstretch. Soutache ultimately engagaed Highborn for the lead exiting the backstretch, shook free approaching the quarter pole, then maintained a clear advantage over Tip Sheet under steady urging the length of the stretch.          

Tip Sheet saved ground early, tipped out to go after the leaders on the final bend, moved within easy striking distance of Soutache into the stretch, but was not good enough while easily second-best.  It was another 9 1/2 lengths farther back to the tiring Highborn, who finished a distant third.  Yeehaw, His Name Is Sue, and Maranatha completed the order of finish.

Soutache completed the distance over a fast track in 1:45.10 and paid $2.20.

“It’s a special feeling to come to Florida and accomplish something like this so quick,” said Nicks, who became a year-round regular on the south Florida circuit for the first time three years ago. “To rate with the guys who did this before, Manny Tortora, who is a Florida icon, and Stanley Gold, whose record in this series is impeccable, is a great honor.”

Nicks said he was pleased with the way the trip worked out for Soutache.

“He was in great position, looked to be relaxed and Tyler appeared to be awfully confident at the quarter pole,” Nicks said. “Although I didn’t feel really good until they crossed the wire.  I thought he seemed to handle the distance well. Like I said, I was afraid of him bouncing a little bit as fast as he ran last time and with so many races close together. But we’ll have to try it with him another time to see if he really likes it.”

Nicks said it is unlikely Soutache will be pointed for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“We haven’t discussed it yet, but I think in all likelihood he’ll get a vacation and we’ll see him again next winter,” Nicks. said.

Gaffalione, who rode Soutache for the first time in the In Reality, said, “The game plan was to try and sit off the pace and see what happens off the break.  He relaxed beautifully back there. When I called on him he exploded.”