Venezuelan Hug's victory in Saturday's Canadian Turf S. (G3), his first graded win, gave Constitution his second stakes winner of the day on the Gulfstream card, coming just an hour after Annex took the Palm Beach S. over the same course.
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Trained by Danny Gargan and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Venezuelan Hug got an inside trip yet still had to stage some late-race dramatics to get the win. Sitting in sixth along the rail most of the way, Alvarado had to wait for an opening before making his move. That came inside the final furlong, and Venezuelan Hug shot through to win a three-way photo by a neck in 1:40.42 for the 1 1/16-miles on the firm turf.
“I got a little concerned when he got stuck down in there. He's such a big horse, I was a little worried he wouldn't be able to get through,” said Gargan. “The only instructions I gave Junior was that he likes to make his run on the outside, but he's won a couple times on the inside now so he's maturing. He does really well pretty much everywhere we've had him, but he does love it down here. He likes two turns. He really digs in and gives you a big effort every time.”
Venezuelan Hug is owned by Spedale Family Racing and R. A. Hill Stable. The 4-year-old is now 6-0-1 in 10 starts and has earned $252,830. He previously won the Sunshine Turf S. on Jan. 16 and Millions Turf Preview S. on Nov. 21. The gray/roan colt was bred by Orlyana Farm.
Constitution leads the 2021 Third-Crop Sire list by black type horses, graded stakes horses, winners and wins. Last year's #1 Second-Crop sire, Constitution is standing this season for $85,000 S&N.