After missing 2014 with an injury, Gentlemen’s Bet returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in almost 21 months in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn.
Under Ramon Vazquez, Gentlemen’s Bet outlasted 3-5 favorite Ivan Fallunovalot in a stretch-long duel to win the Hot Springs by 1 ¼ lengths.
“Today was a class check more than it was a time check,” winning trainer Ron Moquett said.
Ivan Fallunovalot, who made the lead after a sharp break under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, finished 5 ¼ lengths ahead of Apprehender.
Unbridled’s Note, Heaven’s Runway, Zee Bros and Louies Flower completed the order of finish. Carrying 115 pounds – seven less than Ivan Fallunovalot – Gentlemen’s Bet ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.67.
The Hot Springs marked the first victory for Gentlemen’s Bet since the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap June 28, 2013, at Prairie Meadows. Gentlemen’s Bet ran third in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in November 2013, but didn’t start last year because of a foot problem.
The 6-year-old son of Half Ours finished third, beaten a half-length, in his Feb. 14 comeback race against allowance foes. Gentlemen’s Bet weakened late after setting the pace that day. But he was able to successfully track the front-runner Saturday.
Ivan Fallunovalot carved out blistering fractions of :21.61 for a quarter-mile and :44.58 for a half-mile.Gentlemen’s Bet engaged Ivan Fallunovalot on the outside turning for home and wore down the front-runner in the final furlong.
“He’s a nice horse,” Vazquez said. “I asked him to settle behind the pace and he did it perfectly.
When we turned for home, I asked him to run and he dug in and ran for me. He’s a really great horse, and I’m glad he got this win today.”
The Hot Springs moved the career record of Gentlemen’s Bet to 7-0-4 in 12 starts and increased his earnings to $543,200. Moquett said he would confer with owner Harry Rosenblum of Little Rock, Ark., on his next start but that the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 is under consideration.
Gentlemen’s Bet ran third in the 2013 Count Fleet, his first loss in four lifetime starts.
“He gets to answer that question,” Moquett said. “We’re just going to do whatever is best for him. We’ll talk with the owner, and from that point on, we’ll go there if we can. I’d love to if it’s what the horse wants.”
Moquett also saddled Far Right, co-owned by Rosenblum, to win the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 19 and the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 22. Far Right is scheduled to make his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 11.
“Good horses make people look good,” Moquett said.