06/17/2017 4:33PM

Somethingelse gives Azpurua meaningful win in Ginger Punch Stakes

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Leslie Martin/Bob Coglianese Photos Inc.
Somethingelse and jockey Edgard Zayas win the Ginger Punch Stakes by half a length.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – An emotional Leo Azpurua Jr. stood in the winner’s circle minutes after his Somethingelse held off Bitacora and Family Meeting to capture Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch Stakes for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park.

“I want to make sure this race is dedicated to Manny Azpurua, who was very supportive and very instrumental, [along] with my father, in my racing career,” said Azpurua. “For me, this was more than winning. It was winning just for him.”

Azpurua, who trains Somethingelse for Commonweath Stable and Randy Bradshaw, was referring to his uncle, Manny Azpurua, who died this week at 88.

The Ginger Punch gave Somethingelse, a daughter of Leroidesanimaux, her first stakes win after near misses in each of her last three starts. She was given a perfectly judged ride by Edgard Zayas, who put Somethingelse in stalking position of early leader My Little Princess through very slow early splits of 26.57 and 52.83 seconds over a turf course officially called “firm.”

Somethingelse readily took command as the pace quickened on the second turn and repulsed a nearly stretch-long bid from 7-5 favorite Family Meeting before withstanding a late surge by Bitacora to register a half-length decision.

Somethingelse completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.58 and paid $5.80.

“I am really proud of this filly,” said Azpurua. “We’ve lost some heartbreakers, the one in Tampa [the Distaff Turf] by a head to the same filly [Family Meeting]. But she’s as honest as they come. All I told [Zayas] was, ‘If there’s no pace, it’s in your hands. If there’s pace, let her come from a stalking position and make a run like she always has.’ But 26 and 52 [seconds], you can’t be waiting for anybody.”

Azpurua said he’s got nothing picked out for Somethingelse’s next start.

“This was a milestone we wanted to get through because she was always the bridesmaid, close but no cigar,” said Azpurua. “Now that we’ve got the cigar, we’ll look and see and keep our options open.”