By HorseracingFLA Staff
Sunday, May 31 – Flutterby coasted to a 9 ¼ length victory Saturday in the $60,000 Sea Lily Handicap at Gulfstream Park. sending her 94-year-old trainer Jerry Bozzo to the winner’s circle and to a place in racing history.
Bozzo apparently became the oldest trainer to win a U.S. thoroughbred stakes race, according to Gulfstream’s checking of racing data bases. Bozzo also is the breeder and owner of the 4-year-old Flutterby.
Bozzo is the oldest active trainer to win a race. A victory next year would tie him for oldest all-time winner with the late Noble Threewitt, who scored with Threeatonce in a maiden claimer at Santa Anita in 2006 at the age of 95.
Bozzo has every intention of maintaining his Gulfstream Park-based stable for the foreseeable
“I look forward every morning to get out here and see my horses perform,” said Bozzo, who will turn 95 in October.
Flutterby beat Little Alexis by 9 1/4 lengths in the Sea Lily, at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. She was ridden by Luca Panici. Panici, led at every call and won in the fast time of 1:16.04 on a track listed as fast. Best Behavior, the 9-5 favorite, finished third.
It was the first stakes win for Flutterby. She was the 7-2 fourth betting choice in the six-horse field.
“I told the jock, ‘Break the horse well and get a neck or half-length in front and wait until the top of the stretch and then ask her,” Bozzo said. “She really responded beautifully. She tries every time. She’s as honest as the day is long. She was ready today.”
Flutterby captured her fourth career victory while pushing her career earnings to nearly $200,000 with her $36,828 winnings.
The daughter of Congrats’ triumph marked Bozzo’s 211th career victory from 2076 starters since taking out his trainer’s license in 1984.
“It’s most satisfying, believe me,” Bozzo said. “People always tell me, ‘Why don’t you quit?’ and I say, ‘What for? I’m having too much fun. This is most satisfying.’ No, this is it. I’m going to die with my boots on.”
*Gulfstream will have nine races on Sunday, with first post time of 1:00 p.m. There are no stakes races on the card.