Marconi takes Skip Away S. for first black type win

Marconi’s surge in the final strides gave the 4-year-old a well-earned win in the $100,000 Skip Away S. on Friday at Gulfstream Park.

It was the first stakes win for the Tapit colt owned by Bridlewood Farm in partnership with Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. His record, which includes a third-place finish in last year’s Withers S. (G3), is now 2-1-1 from seven starts, and earnings of $149,702.

Away from the races for eight months, Marconi returned in a Feb. 6 Gulfstream one-mile allowance, where he closed well to be beaten just 2 1/2-lengths. Stretching out to 1 3/16-miles in the Skip Away, Marconi was keen out of the gate, but got pinched back soon after, and was forced three-wide into the first turn. Moving along nicely in the three-path going down the backstretch, Marconi was about two lengths from the front after six furlongs in a tepid 1:14.09.

Jockey Luis Saez urged his mount on around the bend, but Marconi didn’t find his best stride until deep stretch, when he rallied to best Sir Anthony by a half-length in 1:56.30 on the fast main track.

“He’s been training well. We were optimistic coming in,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We always felt like the longer the better for him. He had a little time to mature. He’s a big horse and we always felt like he’d get better with a little time. We were hoping he would show up and deliver the type of performance he’s been showing in the morning. It was nice to see.”

Marconi, bred by Brushwood Stable, is out of Ponche de Leona, making him a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and multi-millionaire Mucho Macho Man and a full brother to the stakes-winning filly Southern Girl.