The first words out of the mouth of announcer Pete Aiello when they sprung the gate for the fifth race at Gulfstream Park yesterday were: “Hay Hay Paula was off slow, but not as much as usual.”
The 5-year-old daughter of Bahamian Squall was eighth and last after the break, and she remained there down the backstretch in the race at 5 1/2 furlongs over the Tapeta course, eight or nine lengths behind the leaders, and out of the TV picture. On the turn, Hay Hay Paula suddenly reappeared, racing eight wide and taking advantage of hot fractions of :22.89 and :45.85.
The mare bred by Pam Edel loomed into contention at the top of the stretch, and was guided to the wire by Gabriel Maldonado a neck in front, putting her on the long list of “from last to first” winners. She was clocked in 1:04.07, paid $3.60 and picked up a check for $13,600. That raised her earnings to $99,680 on a record of 5-1-3 in 16 starts, with three of the victories coming this year, and all five at Gulfstream.