Tommy Roberts Racing Stable’s Early Entry returned from an 11-month layoff to continue his dominance over Gulfstream Park’s main track Saturday, scoring a half-length victory in the Sunshine Millions Sprint.
Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, the 6-year-old son of Keyed Entry won his fourth race in four appearances on Gulfstream’s dirt track while winning his straight race in his first race since winning the Rail Splitter Stakes Feb. 15.
“He had a few problems and the owner’s good about giving horses the time that they need. When they comeback sometimes they get sick or have a foot issue. It wasn’t as though I had this race targeted to come back,” O’Connell said. “He was sharp. He was up to the task. He showed up today.”
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Early Entry ($ 10.20) chased Delta Bluesman, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, along the backstretch and around the far turn. Early Entry pulled alongside the pacesetter leaving the turn into the homestretch before asserting himself during the run to the finish line. Delta Bluesman held second, a neck ahead of Awesome Banner, the 9-5 second betting choice ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.
Early Entry ran six furlongs in 1:09.50 while earning his ninth career victory and first at the distance.
“We’re just going to enjoy this for a while. He’s a seven (furlongs) specialist. He is what he is and we’re satisfied with that,” O’Connell said.
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