09/03/2016 6:21PM

Three Rules remains unbeaten with easy win in Affirmed

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Three Rules improves to 4 for 4 with a 5 1/2-length victory under Cornelio Velasquez in the Affirmed.

Make it four for Three Rules.

Florida-bred 2-year-old sensation Three Rules battled on a hot pace, disposed of his two pace rivals before turning for home, and went on to yet another blowout victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park, capturing the $300,000 Affirmed division of the Florida sire stakes by 5 1/2 lengths under Cornelio Velasquez.

Three Rules won his debut by 3 1/2 lengths, the Birdonthewire Stakes by five, and the Sunday Silence division of the Florida sire stakes by seven last out, and he overmatched his foes again Saturday. Herecomesthedude, breaking one stall inside Three Rules, ran with him early, taking the lead with Three Rules pressing two wide as Jewel Heist came up the fence to track the top two through a demanding pace, 22.24 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 44.87 for the first half.

Those fractions crushed Herecomesthedude and Jewel Heist, both of whom were done by the top of the stretch, but Three Rules continued on gamely, getting one crack from Velasquez’s crop in midstretch though the outcome never seemed in doubt. Front Loaded ran late to get second over Legacy Azteca, giving trainer Jose Pinchin an exacta sweep of this rich restricted race.

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Three Rules, the 1-9 favorite, paid $2.40 to win and ran seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.89. Three Rules is by Gone Astray out of the Full Mandate mare Joy Rules and was bred in Florida by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Geoff Roy, and Tom Fit. Bert Pilcher, of the Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, owns Three Rules, and must decide whether to keep the obviously talented colt or sell him to one of many potential buyers.

“I've gotten a lot of phone calls, but I don't let anyone offer me anything because I don't want to turn anyone down,” Pilcher said.”I just say, ‘I haven't made up my mind. I will call you back if I think of something.’ This is big for me. Been doing this all my life and I never had a horse or been around a horse this great. It's really exciting, and it's hard to turn it loose.”

Three Rules is likely to make his next start Oct. 1 in the $500,000 In Reality division of the Florida sire stakes, and Pinchin said he believes his horse will have no trouble getting the two turns of that race. Pinchin said earlier this week that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the longer-term goal for Three Rules, who actually missed five days of training because of a minor injury prior to this easy win Aug. 6. Pinchin raced Three Rules in front bandages last month but the colt ran clean-legged Saturday.