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Comedy Town from Florida beats Smile Sprint

BY BROCK SHERIDAN

Ten Twenty Racing and Saffie Joseph Jr.'s Comedy Town four-laned the final turn and then passed stablemate Sibelius at the eighth post to win Saturday's $110,000 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park at 11-1 odds. Trained by Joseph and ridden to victory by Drayden Van Dyke, Florida-born Comedy Town earned his first black-type victory at age six by defeating six other three-year-olds and older in six furlongs.

In addition to the winner's share of $58,800 in prize money, Comedy Town also received a $10,000 Florida-bred bonus donated by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.

Florida-bred Octane, the 6-5 favorite, broke out in the lead from post four but was quickly overtaken by Swirvin on his inside as Comedy Town settled into fourth place in the three-horse race. After a quick quarter mile in :22.02, Swirvin maintained a half-length lead over Octane in second between the horses, while Sibelius was third just behind his outside hip. Comedy Town stayed patient on the inside and finished another two lengths back in fourth place.

Sibelius briefly took the lead, passing the quarter pole, when Van Dyke brought Comedy Town to the outside to challenge. The two headed separately toward the finish, while Octane and Swirvin gradually lost touch.

Comedy Town overtook Sibelius with a furlong to go and extended his lead down the homestretch to win by a length and a half in 1:10.03 on the fast track. Run Classic came late to finish second, a length and a half ahead of Sibelius in third. They were followed in order by Swirvin, Florida-bred Loco Abarrio, Legacy Isle and Octane. Florida-bred Mish was withdrawn.

“He got off to a good start. On paper it looked like a really tough race,” Van Dyke said. “Saffie just said if my other horse gets off to a good start, stay away from him. If I get off to a good start, you won't kill each other. I was just off the speed at the end. I was able to get on the outside around the three-eighths pole and was pleasantly surprised at how strong I went into the turn. I was excited to let him do his thing on the track and luckily we had enough to pull it off.”

It was Comedy Town's second consecutive victory following a two-length win over first-place finishers who were awarded a $25,000 purse and went six furlongs on a muddy track at Gulfstream on June 8. The Smile Sprint was the third race for Comedy Town from the Joseph stable, following a second-place finish to Cotton at Gulfstream on March 15, which was awarded a $25,000 purse. It was also his first race on a fast dirt track in 26 career starts.

“He ran well on dirt a week after we claimed him,” said Joseph. “He ran his first race on Tapeta and didn't run so well. I decided to give him a chance on dirt. The last time he won, the track was muddy. He trained well and was super impressive today. He sat alongside the horses and overtook some good horses. Sibelius won a Group 1. He proved he's the real deal and he showed a new dimension.”

Comedy Town has now recorded five wins, including five second places and four third places, and has increased his total earnings to $336,675.

Comedy Town is by Speightstown out of the Distorted Humor mare Unbridled Humor, winner of the 2011 Noble Damsel (Grade 3) and the 2010 Memories of Silver. Unbridled Humor has also produced the stakes-placed Wild and Funny, by Kitten's Joy, and the stakes-placed Wild Medagliad'oro, by Medaglia d'Oro. Unbridled Humor has four winners from six starters and one non-racing 3-year-old mare, Winning Ballyhoo, by Into Mischief; one non-racing 2-year-old mare, Souper Zesty Zest, by Laoban; one yearling colt, Souper Cha Ching, by Medaglia d'Oro; and one weanling, Amazing Alice, by Bolt d'Oro. Comedy Town was bred in Florida by Live Oak Stud.

Comedy Town is the third consecutive Florida-born winner of the Smile, following Willy Boi in 2023 and Dean Delivers last year. Since moving from the closed Calder Race Course to Gulfstream Park in 2016, the Smile has also been won by Florida-born horses Delta Bluesman (2016), Imperial Hint (2017) and XY Jet (2018). The Smile was first run as the Miami Beach Sprint Handicap in 1984 and has been won by Florida-born horses 26 times.

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