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Distinta scores upset in Inside Information Stakes

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Race Replay: Inside Information Stakes (4:12)

Distinta holds off a challenge from Wheatfield to upset the Grade 2, $200,000 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 18, 2017. (4:12)

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- In a race where two stablemates dueled for the early lead and the 3-5 favorite proved to be a no-show, it was jockey John Velazquez and the 11-1 Distinta who took the most advantage, outfinishing fellow longshot Wheatfield by a half-length to upset the Grade 2, $200,000 Inside Information Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Distinta raced in mid-pack during the early running of the seven-furlong Inside Information as uncoupled stablemates Danessa Again and Dearest contested the early pace. Dearest ultimately emerged with a commanding advantage in early stretch and appeared on her way to victory near midstretch, only to succumb to the final surge of Distinta, who rallied down the center of the course to earn her first graded stakes victory while also giving her trainer, Victor Barboza Jr. his first graded stakes win in North America.

Curlin's Approval was coming off two impressive, graded stakes wins earlier this winter including the Grade 2 Royal Delta going 1 1/16 miles in her most recent start four weeks earlier. But the odds-on favorite never showed her best speed or put herself into the race, getting hung wide while falling back to last on the far turn before ultimately finishing fifth as the 3-5 choice.

Distinta, a 5-year-old daughter of Summer Bird owned by VEB Racing Stable Corp., completed the distance in 1:23.93 and paid $25.80.

"Last time she was too far back, she had to make up too much ground, so I tried to put her a little closer today," Velazquez said. "I thought the horse on the lead (Dearest) was going to be very tough, but every time I asked her she responded and once we got to the eighth pole, I thought I had a chance to win."

Jockey Luis Saez described Curlin's Approval as "flat."

"She broke, she was trying, but she was flat and couldn't get there," Saez said.