Richard C. Pell's FLY DOWN (Mineshaft) rallied from last to deny First Dude (Stephen Got Even) in Sunday's 3RD race at Gulfstream Park, an entry-level allowance designed as a prep for the March 20 Florida Derby (G1). Trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Jose Lezcano, the chestnut colt got up by a head while completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 4/5 on the fast track.
First Dude argued the early pace with 3-5 favorite Colizeo (Distorted Humor), who stumbled badly at the start but rushed up to grab a slim advantage. Colizeo had his head in front through an opening quarter in :23, then held a half-length margin through fractions of :46 4/5 and 1:11 1/5.
As Colizeo began to feel the effects of his early exertions, First Dude seized command and edged away at the top of the stretch. He was 1 1/2 lengths clear when reaching the mile in 1:36 4/5, but Fly Down was already making headway. Erasing the deficit in deep stretch, Fly Down wore down a stubborn First Dude in time.
Fly Down, who was the co-third choice with First Dude at 9-2, paid $11.20, $5.20 and $4.40. First Dude finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Thunder Perfect (Pleasantly Perfect), and Colizeo came another five lengths back in fourth. Lonesome Street (Broken Vow) wound up at the tail of the field, which was reduced to five after the scratch of Teaks North (Northern Afleet).
Fly Down and First Dude had met before, with the same result. In a 1 1/16-mile maiden at Churchill Downs on November 28, Fly Down prevailed by a half-length over a similarly game First Dude. Fly Down had not raced since, but First Dude was coming off a maiden score at Gulfstream on January 30.
Bred by Broadway Thoroughbreds and W.S. Farish in Kentucky, and sold for $80,000 at Keeneland September, Fly Down now sports a mark of 3-2-0-1, $54,570. He was produced by the Fly So Free mare Queen Randi, making him a half-brother to Grade 2 heroine Seafree (Chief Seattle). Fly Down also has an unnamed yearling half-brother by A. P. Warrior.