Breeders’ Cup 2018: Veteran Runner Pay Any Price heading to Turf Sprint

Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable’s Pay Any Price withstood top weight of 130 pounds and a bold stretch challenge to capture the $75,000 Tamiami Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Sunday 9/16, taking huge strides toward a planned start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

The 8-year-old gelding, who set a world record for five furlongs on turf (53.61 seconds) at Gulfstream last year, carried between 12 and 15 pounds more than his six rivals in the five-furlong turf handicap while winning his fourth straight race and 11th of his last 16 starts.

“He’ll get one more race and then we’re planning on going to Churchill,” said trainer Georgina Baxter following her first career stakes victory.

Pay Any Price broke alertly under Edgard Zayas to show the way while being pressed by Phantom Ro past fractions of 21.64 and 43.94 seconds. Turning into the homestretch, Phantom Ro pulled alongside the gelded son of Wildcat Heir, but the 2-5 favorite fought back under strong urging and pulled away to a 1 ½-length triumph.

The Breeders' Cup horse racing“He handled the 130 pounds well,” Zayas said. “I was a little worried because that’s a lot of weight. But he handled it well and when the other horse got to him he was game like he always is and kept on going and fought back.”

Phantom Ro, a stakes winner making his first start on turf, finished second while carrying 115 pounds, including jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Tenacity Zip and jockey Paco Lopez finished a head back.in third.

Pay Any Price, who ran five furlongs in 55.57 seconds, was making his first start since capturing the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream.

“I was kind of worried because he was coming off a bit of a layoff and carrying a lot of weight. He was giving 15 pounds to some of the horses,” Baxter said. “He dug in good today. He’s dug in before, but today he surprised me. He really dug in. He was training really well.”

Pay Any Price has overcome chronic foot issues and behavioral issues to establish himself as a star stakes performer and fan favorite in South Florida.

“That’s my project,” Baxter said. “I get on him every day. It’s no secret he’s a hard horse to train.”

Source: Gulfstream Park