Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo notched a record setting victory in the $125,000 Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Trevor McCarthy aboard, the 3-year-old son of Declaration of War won by a half-length and established a new track record by covering the mile-and-a-sixteenth in 1:46.94 over a firm turf course. The previous record of 1:47.19 was set in 2016.
Gufo returned $3.20 as the favorite in the field of seven. Pixelate, with Angel Suarez, finished second. It was another 2 ½-lengths farther back to Vanzzy, with Mychel Sanchez, in third. Sunsation, with Joe Bravo, cut early fractions of :47.49 for the half-mile and 1:11.31 for the three-quarter miles before finishing in fifth.
The Kent Stakes is the first graded stakes victory for Gufo who has now won four in a row. Previously, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Christophe Clement won the $75,000 English Channel Stakes at Gulfstream Park on May 2. He raised his career mark to four wins and a third from five starts with earnings of $177,000.
“They wanted me to have him a little bit closer to the pace today, but he just was not comfortable when we I put a little pressure on him to stay up early,” said winning jockey Trevor McCarthy, who also won the Christiana Stakes earlier on the card. “We went a little slow the first quarter but things quickened up. I felt like I was on the best horse, so I left him alone, kept him out of trouble and gave him time to get himself together. I saved a little bit of ground in the first turn and then I got him out down the backside and that is when he really started to gain his rhythm. If there was any horse who could have beaten me today, I thought it was the three, Pixielate, and I just kind of tracked him the whole way. When we turned for home, I just went outside of Pixieilate, and my horse did all of the work. He was really impressive breaking the track record and he really stormed home the last eighth of a mile.”
McCarthy also won aboard Trickle In in the $50,000 Christiana Stakes earlier on the card. The Michael Stidham-trained daughter of Temple City, owned by CJ Thoroughbreds, was well handled on the lead throughout, briefly headed on the far turn, and cleared to win by a length in 1:41.26 for 1 1/16 miles. She returned $9.80 to win.