Howe Great proved he was just that for owner Team Valor International and trainer Graham Motion with a win in the Grade 3 $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida. As the 3-5 favorite in the field of six, Howe Great broke sharply and sat behind longshot leader Scorcher in the 1 1/8 mile race on the grass. As the field turned the corner for home, jockey Johnny Velazquez and Howe Great emerged in front of a four-wide pack. The son of Hat Trick held off a late charge by second choice Dullahan to take victory by a length.
Although Csaba looked like he could challenge Howe Great, sitting just off of him in third through much of the race, Csaba was never able to move out of third place where he ultimately finished. The early trailer, Argentine Tango finished fourth. Coalport and Scorcher completed the field.
Howe Great grabbed his first graded earnings with Sunday’s win. But with the payout for first place at $90,000, it doesn’t even put him within the top 30 on the graded earnings list. Unless he can grab another graded stakes win, it would seem that Howe Great would not be the one to take the connections that won the Kentucky Derby last year with Animal Kingdom back to Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May.
Dale Romans’ Dullahan made an impressive return to the racetrack after his fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind current Derby leaders Hansen, Union Rags, and Creative Cause. Dullahan was fifth by as much as five lengths halfway through the Palm Beach and was the horse on the far outside of the line of four turning for home. He quickly gained the advantage over Csaba and Coalport, but was unable to catch Howe Great. Dullahan is scheduled to make his next start in Keeneland’s Toyota Bluegrass Stakes on April 14.
Howe Great paid $3.40, $2.40, and $2.10. Dullahan returned $2.80 and $2.20 and completed the $2 exacta for $8.80. Csaba paid $3.80 and completed the $1 trifecta for $21.30. Argentine Tango completed the $1 superfecta for $71.00. The final time was 1:46.56. Click here to watch a replay of the race. W C C
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby