US RACING: Bajan Saffie Joseph slips out of lead after single winner at Gulfstream

Saffie Joseph Jr (left) with one of his winning charges.

BEACH, Florida –  Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr logged a single winner on Saturday but it was not enough to keep hold of the lead at Gulfstream Park as Todd Pletcher conjured up three winners to take command of the standings.

The 33-year-old Joseph found success in race four with favourite Sand Drift but failed to place with his only entrant of the day when favourite Mayito finished down the field in the US$17 000 race one over a mile.

Heading into Sunday, Joseph lies second in the trainers’ charts on 12 wins, three behind Pletcher who has now roared to the top.

Michael Maker sits third on 10 while Juan Alvarado is two back in fourth, in the season which got underway April 2 and wraps September 27.

Joseph’s success came over a mile in the day’s opener when 7-2 Sand Drift edged the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by three-quarters of a length in a time of one minute, 34.30 seconds.

Under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Sand Drift survived a bump at the start with long-shot Samis Car, to be off the pace as the 132-1 bet came away with a two-length lead after the first quarter run in 22.68 seconds.

Too Much War and Algodonal chased from second while Dana Grace stalked from fourth, as the field reached the half mile in 46.37.

Sand Drift made good progress down the backstretch along the rails before Gaffalione slipped her through a small seam approaching the final turn, to find themselves in third at the top of the stretch.

Dana Grace held a narrow lead in the lane but Sand Drift produced a burst on the outside to pick up the running before holding off a late charge from Get Rewarded to reach the wire first.


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