By Jim Freer
Saturday, July 19 –Trainer Phil Gleaves calls Csaba “a grinder,” and his veteran star showed that grit again on Saturday in winning the $75,000 Skip Trial Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Csaba caught the leader Palatine Hill in the final turn and dueled with him until taking the lead about 150 yards from the wire. Csaba then held off a late run by Grand Tito and won by 1 ¾ lengths.
Palatine Hill, the 5-2 favorite, and Kings Over finished in a dead heat for third–one half length behind Grand Tito.
Csaba, at 7-2, paid $9.40, $5.40 and $3.00.
With regular jockey Manoel Cruz riding, Csaba covered the 1 1/16 mile distance in the solid but not spectacular time of 1:43.12 on a track listed as fast.
It was Csaba’s ninth stakes win, and his third at Gulfstream. The other six were at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Csaba was equipped with blinkers for his second straight stakes victory. That previous win was in the Memorial Handicap at Calder on May 24.
“I put blinkers on him for his last two starts. That’s given him a new lease on life. He’s gotten a lot sharper,” Gleaves said. “He was acting sharper saddling; he was sharper in the paddock. It was something to change him up a little bit.”
Gleaves said Csaba’s next race likely will be the $100,000 Alydar Stakes on Aug. 17 at Saratoga.