Cali Star lives up to favoritism in Rampart

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Jen Caldwell

December 12th, 2015

Ben P. Walden Jr. and Larry Taylor’s Cali Star was sent off the 9-5 favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Rampart S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and the Street Cry filly easily fulfilled all expectations with a three-length score.

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione was aboard the chestnut miss, who saved ground on the inside as Pink Poppy and Best Behavior battled early on for the lead through splits of :23.69, :46.50 and 1:11.06. Cali Star came off the rail to angle around a tiring Pink Poppy, collared stablemate Best Behavior and glided home the easiest of winners while stopping the clock in 1:36.35 for a mile on the fast main track.

Cali Star entered the Rampart off a five-length romp against allowance/optional claiming rivals during the Gulfstream Park West meet. That was her first start for new trainer Marty Wolfson after going 16-2-5-3 for conditioner Alice Cohn.

Wolfson actually had a one-two finish in the Rampart thanks to Best Behavior taking second by 1 3/4 lengths on Stiffed, who in turn was a half-length up on Moment of Delight at the wire.

Bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables, Cali Star tried stakes company for just the second time in this spot. Her first attempt in the December 2014 Pago Hop S. at Fair Grounds resulted in a runner-up effort.

Wolfson didn’t say where Cali Star would be headed next, but did mention that Best Behavior is headed for the sales ring.

Cali Star photo courtesy of Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography


Trainer Marty Wolfson (Cali Star, Best Behavior): “She likes this track; I knew that. When I (first) worked her I was surprised. She had been working slow, but her works have been really strong. She’s run like her works have been.

“I was more pleased with the other filly (runner-up Best Behavior), because she hadn’t run for six months. She was game.

“I just didn’t want Tyler (Gaffalione) to get stuck with a tiring horse in from of him, but he moved quicker and stayed out of trouble. “

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione (Cali Star): “Marty (Wolfson) told me just to get position and, when she was ready, to let her run. She did everything perfect. She wasn’t afraid to be down inside.

“Last time I rode her she was down on the fence and she was running the whole time. I honestly didn’t really want to be inside there, but my filly was running so good and I did have the inside post, so I didn’t want to give that up. I held my position and when I asked her she just ran away.

“She overcame everything in this race. She’s a really nice filly and I can’t thank the owners enough for giving me this opportunity.”

(On coming back from Wednesday’s spill): “Everything checked out well and I can’t thank God and everyone enough for supporting me.”