Starting Over, R Calli Kim Take 1 3/8-Mile Turf Stakes


Photo: Coglianese Photos
Starting Over rallies to victory in the Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Nice Guys Stables' Starting Over  did just that in 2023, joining the stable of Mike Maker, a trainer often successful with older turf horses, particularly over marathon distances.

The gelding notched first stakes win in 2023 under Maker when he took the 1 1/2-mile Colonial Cup Stakes last summer at Colonial Downs, and March 2 at Gulfstream Park, he took a more prestigious prize: the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) going 1 3/8 miles.

The victory, in which the 7-year-old ran down Tawny Port  late to win by a neck, resulted in his initial graded stakes victory.

Maker won the Mac Diarmida for the fifth time in the last six years.

In the rear of the pack early as a stretching-out Main Event  set legitimate fractions of :23.70, :48.75, and 1:14, Starting Over swung into gear on the second turn and after angling out wide into the lane, powering past a cluster of rivals in the closing strides. He hit the wire with a final time of 2:12.29 under Edgard Zayas.

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Previously runner-up in the William L. McKnight Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Jan. 27, he paid $24 to win.

Anglophile  rallied between horses to grab third, edging a wide-racing Kingmax  in fourth and a weakening Main Event in fifth. 

"I thought, looking at the program, he would have been a little bit closer, but when I dropped the reins and he dropped back, he was really relaxed," Zayas said. "I think going these long distance races, it's about who relaxes the horse better, and if he's not fighting the whole way."

  • Starting Over, a gray or roan bred by George Strawbridge Jr., is by Liam's Map   out of the stakes-placed Lemon Drop Kid mare Vanishing . He is one of three stakes winners this year for his sire, who stands for $40,000 at Lane's End Farm.


R Calli Kim Rolls in the $150,000 The Very One

Later on the card, another late-running 7-year-old—R Calli Kim —flourished over the same 1 3/8-mile trip on grass, winning the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3T) for fillies and mares.

Cut loose and sent to the outside at the head of the stretch by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, she inhaled her rivals with her customary closing punch to win going away. The heavy favorite was clocked in 2:13.01. She returned $4.40 to win.

Anatolian  finished second ahead of Cairo Consort  in third. 

Brendan Walsh trains R Calli Kim for owners Two Eight Racing and Averill Racing. Rich Averill of Averill Racing bought the filly for $9,000 at the 2018 September Yearling Sale at Keeneland from the consignment of her breeder, Upson Downs Farm.