Jockey Paco Lopez Posts Five-Win Day Saturday At Gulfstream Park - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Jockey Paco Lopez Posts Five-Win Day Saturday At Gulfstream Park

Paco Lopez

Jockey Paco Lopez put the finishing touches on a five-win afternoon by guiding Patricia Generazio homebred Mid Day Image to a front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in the $95,000 Claiming Crown Emerald Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The 1 1/16-mile Emerald was the last of nine starter stakes worth $810,000 in purses on the 23rd Claiming Crown program, being held at Gulfstream for the 10th consecutive year. For 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2020-21, the Emerald was the last of four turf stakes.

Created by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Claiming Crown rewards and pays tribute to the horses and horsemen that provide the foundation for day-to-day racing programs at tracks around the country.

Lopez, who shares the Gulfstream track record with seven wins on a single card, notched four of his wins in the Claiming Crown. He had consecutive victories with Joe Di Baggio ($6) in Race 2, Blue Steel ($9.40) in the $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial, and Payntdembluesaway ($5.60) in the $90,000 Distaff Dash, and captured the $85,000 Rapid Transit with Miles Ahead ($4.60). He also finished second with Xy Speed in the $90,000 Canterbury and Hanalei's Houdini in the $125,000 Jewel, beaten less than two combined lengths.

“Not too bad a day. We had five wins and a couple seconds,” Lopez said. “My horses ran very well today.”

Mid Day Image entered the Emerald off back-to-back wins at Monmouth Parkin in Oceanport, N.J., the most recent coming Sept. 12, both in gate-to-wire fashion. The 5-year-old Midshipman gelding went straight to the lead from his rail post, posting fractions of :23.39, :47.73, and 1:11.22 chased by Clear Vision with 9-5 favorite Max K.O. looming in the clear in third.

Lopez and Mid Day Image maintained a clear advantage at the top of the stretch and continued on once set down for the drive, with Clear Vision unable to make up ground. Attentive came on late to get third, with Light Fury fourth and Max K.O. fifth. The winning time was 1:39.82 over a firm course.

“[Mid Day Image] has a lot of speed. Max K.O., I was scared of that horse because he's fast, too. I know that horse,” Lopez said. “I give credit to my horse. He's very, very good. He put me right there and [trainer Luis] Carvajal [Jr.] told me, 'Paco, that horse is ready today.'”

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