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War Front Filly Finishes Like a Bullet in Royal Palm

D. J. Stable’s Bullet  was a step slow out of the gate in the $106,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies Stakes but came flying late to win the five-furlong turf dash at Gulfstream Park May 11 by 2 1/4 widening lengths.

Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, Bullet was off the screen for much of the Royal Palm. Champion Equine’s second-place finisher You Need Me  set fractions of :22.01 and :44.84 and the St Patrick’s Day   filly looked like she could be home free late after re-asserting herself on the front end. But Bullet finished with an eye-catching rush to win with a final time of :56.80 over the firm turf.

Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Bullet was a $425,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase out of her breeder’s consignment. She is by War Front   and out of the winning Tapit   mare Marlinspike .

Gary Barber’s My Emmy , a filly by freshman stallion and 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will  , whom Barber raced, finished third. Bullet paid $9.80 to win. The top three finishers were all making their debuts.

The field’s only previous winner was 1.70-1 favorite Perfect Shances , who finished seventh for trainer Wesley Ward after chasing the pace from the inside.

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The pair of Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes held at Gulfstream Saturday award an automatic berth to one of six 2-year-old races at the Royal Ascot meeting June 18-22.

Casse, who saddled champion Tepin  to victory over the boys in the 2016 Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Ascot, sounded like he is headed back.

“My wife describes it the best. She said Royal Ascot is like the Kentucky Derby on steroids,” Casse said. “It’s something I’ll never forget. The prestige. We got to meet the Queen, which was very special for us.”

Video: Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies S. (BT)

Gabaldon flashes speed, hangs on

Two races after the Juvenile Fillies, Soldi Stable’s Gabaldon  dueled through blazing fractions of :21.33 and :43.80 and kept going late to win the $110,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes in his debut.

Gabaldon and Governor Sam  engaged in an intense pace duel, opening up at least four lengths on the field early. Governor Sam would fade to sixth, but Gabaldon and rider Jaramillo—who won both heats of the Royal Palm stakes—kept going well enough to stay ahead of a wall of closers who were gaining ground late and won by 1 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Jose D’Angelo, the Florida-bred Gone Astray   colt is out of the unraced Value Plus mare Valuable Miss. Soldi purchased Gabaldon for $9,000 at the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ October Yearling Sale. Gabaldon paid $35 to win.

“The horse showed class from the first day. He’s never missed a workout,” D’Angelo said. “We were looking for a horse to run in this race. Now, we are looking for a [(op) hat.”

Ken Ramsey’s Reach for the Rose  finished second, a neck ahead of the top two betting choices, favored Bright Skittle  and second choice Garden of War , who finished in a dead heat for third. Nine of the 11 starters were unraced coming into the Royal Palm.

Gabaldon wins the 2024 Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Ryan Thompson

Gabaldon (far right) hangs on to win the Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Video: Royal Palm Juvenile S. (BT)

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