Honorable Dillon won the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes, but Verrazano stole the show earlier, winning by 16 1/4 lengths.
Honorable Dillon earned a spot on lists of the country’s top 3-year-old sprinters on Saturday when he beat Forty Tales by a half-length in a fast running of the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (Grade 2) at Gulfstream Park.
Honorable Dillon, in his first stakes race, was ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. and won in 1:22.53 in the seven furlong dirt race.
He shared the spotlight with Verrazano, another 3-year-old who earlier in the afternoon won a one-mile allowance race by 16 1/4 lengths.
Verrazano, making just his second start, ran a fast time of 1:34.80 even though John Velazquez was riding him down the stretch.
Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Verrazano, and Eddie Kenneally the trainer of Honorable Dillon, are now facing decisions on whether to give their talented colts late starts on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Neither horse has any points on this year’s new system for Kentucky Derby qualifying, on May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Horses earn qualifying points only in graded stakes one mile or longer, but not in seven furlong stakes such as the Hutcheson.
“I think it is a shame that there are no points for a Grade 2 race,” Kenneally said.
Under the previous system, Honorable Dillon’s $90,000 in Hutcheson earnings would have counted in Kentucky Derby qualifying.
Kenneally said it is “a definite possibility” Honorable Dillon’s next race will be the $150,000 Swale Stakes (Grade 2) at Gulfstream on March 2.
Pletcher said Verrazano has “earned the right” to move on to a stakes. He said the Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) at Gulfstream on Feb. 23 “may be too soon.”
In the Hutcheson, Honorable Dillon was the 2-1 second betting choice despite his lack of stakes experience.
He had won one of three races. But some bettors apparently noted that he had shown a closing style while the Hutcheson loomed as a speed duel.
Singanothersong led after a fast half mile of 44.64 seconds with Honorable Dillon two lengths behind in third.
Undrafted took the lead coming around the turn. Honorable Dillon took the lead in mid-stretch and held off the late-running Forty Dates, who was the 9-5 favorite.
Undrafted, owned by New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, finished third, and Merit Man, winner of the Spectacular Bid on Jan. 1, finished fourth.
Also Saturday, Varsity beat Something Extra by 1 1/4 lengths in the $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.
Next Saturday, Gulfstream will have four stakes races with some big-name horses in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (Grade 1) and in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Grade 1).
Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, is scheduled to make his first start of the year in the Turf stakes. The race is 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds and up.
The Donn field probably will include Csaba and Pool Play, the winner and runner-up in the one-mile Hal’s Hope Handicap (Grade 3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 15, and Take Charge Indy, the winner of last year’s Florida Derby.
The race is 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 4-year-olds and up.
Pick 6 Carryover
On Sunday, Gulfstream will have a carryover of $1,268,930 on the Pick 6 bet on the last six races.
The bet is 10 cents only, with multiple horses permitted in each race. For example, a ticket with two horses in each race has 64 combinations and costs $6.40.
Gulfstream pays out the entire Pick 6 pool, including the carryover only on days when there is just one winning ticket.
When there are multiple winners, such as Saturday when it paid $6,426.23, they divide 60 percent of the day’s new bets. The other 40 percent goes into the carryover.