Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr twice tasted added-money success in the United States Eastern Seaboard on Saturday, May 29, capturing the US$100,000 Prospector Stakes in the northeast at Monmouth Park and the US$75,000 Musical Romance Stakes on the southeast at Gulfstream Park in New Jersey.
The 34-year-old watched as the six-year-old bay horse, Wind of Change, mowed down the three-year-olds and upwards by 6-¼ lengths in a time of one minute, 09.60 seconds, to win the feature Prospector, sprinting six furlongs.
And Joseph’s golden touch continued at home base at Gulfstream where favorite Sound Machine, a four-year-old bay filly brushed aside the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by 2-¾ lengths in 1:17.74, going 6-½ furlongs.
Joseph’s success at Monmouth was particularly special since he only just set up a barn on the Jersey Shore for the season which got underway on Friday.
Wind of Change, in at odds of 2-1, out-sprinted Always Sunshine, favorite Awesome Anywhere and Royal Urn to produce splits of 22.34 for the quarter and 45.14 for the half on a rain-drenched track.
Always Sunshine followed Wind of Change into the stretch but jockey JC Diaz Jr kept the Daniel Alonso-owned bay horse to task to win going away.
“It looked like he made the lead within a few jumps and once he made the lead I wasn’t worried because he’s not the fastest horse from the gate,” Joseph said afterward.
“So I felt pretty comfortable once he made the lead. By the quarter pole, he had a little pressure but he’s the kind of horse that is going to stay the six furlongs strongly. I felt he would finish strongly and he did.”
Added Diaz: “I wasn’t too worried about the sloppy track because I know this horse is good in the slop. That gives you confidence when you see that form.
“[Joseph] told me the horse has some early speed but he isn’t always quick away from the gate. But he got into stride easily and made the lead on his own. He stayed strong the whole race.”
At Gulfstream, Edgard Zayas raced Sound Machine in a stalking position behind pacesetter Bramble Berry and Starship Bonita as the race served up fractions of 22.49 and 45.14.
A bump with Merseyside near the five-eighths pole saw Sound Machine slip off the pace but the filly regained her stride at the top of the stretch to dominate through the lane.
“She had a little trouble in her last race, but she didn’t fire her best race either,” Joseph said.
“Today, we had her back in form. Early on it looked like she would get beat, but Edgard found room.
“Today, she showed a new dimension. She kicked in and showed a lot of determination. Normally, she’s a little fragile. Mentally, she can’t handle that adversity. I was proud to see she could handle it today.”
Joseph also captured race two over five furlongs with favorite Of a Revolution and race eight over 5-1/2 furlongs with another favorite Ain’t Wasting Time.