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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Patrick Biancone’s A Bit Special proved to be all that and then some on Sunday when she stalked and pounced before running away late in the Grade 3, $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking well from post 7 under Julien Leparoux as the 2/1 favorite, A Bit Special settled into second, a lane off the rail, while Eyeinthesky set opening fractions of :23.92, :48.36, and 1:12.05. Heading into the far turn, A Big Special began advancing on the pacesetter and had Regal Glory on her outside, but after emerging onto the apron with the lead, Regal Glory and Eyeinthesky failed to keep pace. Drawing away in the stretch under a hand ride, A Bit Special hit the wire 2 1/2 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:35.62 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“She had a good trip,” said Leparoux, riding in place of regular jockey Romero Maragh who was seriously injured last week in an on-track accident. “She broke good. She went easy all the way. She’s a nice filly. She has good tactical speed and a good finish – that’s what you need with those big horses. I just have to mention about Romero. I feel bad for him. He’s a young kid who will come back stronger, but we all think about him. The surgery went good, so that’s the most important.”
While no match for the winner, Regal Glory was still strong enough to take second over her fast-closing Chad Brown stablemate La Feve, who nipped Eyeinthesky by a neck at the wire. The rest of the field was strung out behind them, with Hard Legacy taking fifth, Mission From Elle sixth, Miss Unbridled Cat seventh, Bella Ciao eighth, and Ardara Belle ninth to complete the order of finish.
A Bit Special’s win was her third straight – all stakes events here at Gulfstream Park – and improved her overall record to 5-4-1-0. The 3-year-old British-bred daughter of Mukhadram has now earned $193,605 in her career for co-owners Linda Shanahan, Mrs. M. V. Magnier, and J. P. Magnier.
“I noticed today, the first two races on the inside track, the front-runner won,” Biancone said. “I told Julien to get her out of there and hopefully somebody covers you. She had no cover, but it didn’t bother her much. She kicked home like when she comes from behind. She’s very, very special.”
A Bit Special returned $6.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Regal Glory brought back $4.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while La Feve paid $2.80 to show.
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