Jan 26 2019

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Jorge Navarro’s first 999 wins might have each been special, but Saturday, Joseph Besecker’s Aztec Sense pushed the Venezuelan trainer’s total past the four-digit mark when the red-hot gelding earned his ninth straight win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Urged along when he broke from post 6 under Emisael Jaramillo at 5/2 odds, Aztec Sense briefly held the lead before allowing Conquest Big E to pull ahead and post opening fractions of :23.10 and :45.10. Riding the rail through the far turn, Aztec Sense advanced midway through it before emerging onto the front stretch with a slim lead, then dug in gamely for the run home. Though the rest of the field tried in vain to catch him, they were unable to prevail, and Aztec Sense crossed with a 1 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:36.22 for the mile-long event over the sloppy (sealed) main track.

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