Qatar Racing Limited, Marc Detampel and Bottle Rocket Stable’s Vitalogy, racing for the first time in nearly five months after being scratched from the Breeders’ Cup last fall, took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off a slew of challengers through the lane to win the $150,000 Palm Beach Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 34th running of the 1 1/16-mile Palm Beach for 3-year-olds on turf was the first of nine graded-stakes on a blockbuster 14-race program of 10 stakes worth $1.95 million anchored by the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2).
Ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano for trainer Brendan Walsh, Vitalogy ($6) completed the distance in 1:41.86 over a firm turf course. Tiesto, making his graded-stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, came up the hedge for second with South Bend third.
Castellano settled Vitalogy in third as 99-1 long shot Allgorilla went the opening quarter-mile in 24.63 seconds, moving up to second after a half in 48.15. Castellano tipped outside around the turn and set Vitalogy down for a drive following six furlongs in 1:12.85.
Vitalogy, by No Nay Never, made his first two starts in Europe last summer prior to making his North American debut with a third-place finish in the Summer (G1) at Woodbine. In his first start for Walsh, Vitalogy came within a neck of winning the Bourbon (G3) in October at Keeneland. The connections planned a start in the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), but Vitalogy was withdrawn after being examined by regulatory veterinarians.
Winning trainer Brendan Walsh (Vitalogy): “I just feel glad for the owners, because it was an awful blow for them last year [being scratched from the Breeders’ Cup]. They were all out there. We didn’t feel there was anything wrong with the horse. But, that’s in the past now and we move on and hopefully we can have a good year. He certainly proved today that he’s as good as he was last year and we’re excited about him. It’s something to look forward to.”
“We were a bit concerned about [the post], but we had the master on his back. He is brilliant in situations like that. The horse looked so good before the race. He was so calm and it’s exactly what you want to see from a horse like that. He negotiated a good trip but he said he brought him there today, whereas today you kind of had to put him everywhere. He’s learning. But it’s a great run off the layoff, because I just had enough work in him. I think they all had their shot, if anybody was good enough to get by him but he’s great and hat’s off to him.”
Winning jockey Javier Castellano (Vitalogy): “I had a lot of concerns before the race with that post [No. 12]. It’s very difficult. Last time, I sacrificed a little bit. It cost me the race. I had the outside post [No 14] also. Today, he showed me more speed. You can’t be too far back on this track. You have to be close. I had the best horse in the race. I let him come out of the gate in good position and enjoy the ride. He’s a really nice horse.”
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