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Mar 04, 2011

Flashpoint steals the show in Hutcheson Stakes

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Saturday's running of the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes was supposed to be the supporting race to the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The supporting actor stole the show.

The Rick Dutrow trained Flashpoint put on an exhibition in the seven-furlong Hutcheson one race before the main event went off. The 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth is considered a more important prep on the trail to the Kentucky Derby.

However, Flashpoint showed an impressive turn of foot when he rolled past 7-10 favorite Travelin Man after pressing the pace that was set by the odds-on choice. Flashpoint took control coming off the final turn and laid down a 7 1/4-length win.

"You have to be excited after a horse does that," said Dutrow following Flashpoint second win in as many career starts. "He was sensational the first time and sensational today. I thought he'd be in front, but broke a step slow and sat off Todd's horse, so I'm happy to know that he can do that."

Flashpoint, sent off at 6-1 in the nine horse field, showed the ability to stalk a pacesetter and then put on a sustained kick down the stretch. His connections need now to decide where they want to direct his career.

"We'll discuss the options, including the Florida Derby," Dutrow commented on Saturday. "Personally, I like the seven-eighths to a mile-and-an-eighth angle, but we'll see. I would say his next start will be here. You never know if they can go long until they do it, but naturally with the (Kentucky) Derby coming up everybody thinks about it."

Owned by Peachtree Stables, Flashpoint covered the Hutcheson distance in 1:22.03 on a fast track with veteran rider Cornelio Velasquez giving a great exhibition of race riding.

"The only other horse I was concerned about was the [Travelin Man]. We broke good, had a good trip. I didn't want to move too soon because this horse likes company," said Velasquez. "In the stretch, I didn't really hit him. He was very good."

About a half-hour later, 7-5 favorite Soldat posted a two-length win in the Fountain of Youth over Gourmet Dinner and To Honor and Serve. Racing on a fast track for the first time, Soldat covered the nine-furlongs in 1:50.23.

"I just went to the lead and tried to slow it down as much as possible," winning jockey Alan Garcia said. "My horse just kept on going today. I don't think anyone was going to get by us today the way he ran."

Owned by several people and groups, Soldat is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin who conditioned 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor.

"It's on to the Florida Derby now," said McLaughlin after the race. "He's always done everything right and today we got the fast track we wanted. The timing of the program here is perfect for us - five weeks from now to the Florida Derby and another five weeks to the Kentucky Derby (May 7).

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