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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Repole Stable homebred Always Shopping took the lead near the top of the stretch and drew off to win Saturday’s $100,000 Via Borghese Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 8 under Irad Ortiz Jr. as the co-5/2 top choice, Always Shopping settled into a two-wide stalking position in fourth, racing outside of Gun Society.
Up ahead, Lady Panda tracked Traipsing (the other 5/2 co-favorite) through opening fractions of 24.31, 50.11, and 1:14.26.
Joining Gun Society as they ranged up in the far turn to threaten for the lead, Always Shopping took the lead by the time she straightened for home.
The Todd Pletcher trainee drew off to win the 1 3/16-mile firm turf route by 3 lengths in 1:54.34.
“It worked out perfect,” Ortiz Jr. said. “I thought I was going to sit second, but (Traipsing) broke sharp and I didn’t want to use my horse to get position, so I stayed third. She was comfortable. I waited for the time to go, and when I asked her, she responded very well.”
Great Island veered out in mid-stretch before crossing second ahead of the winner’s stablemate Cap de Creus, who edged Traipsing by a neck for third. After the race, the stewards disqualified Great Island from second to third for interfering with Cap de Creus while veering.
Kelsey’s Cross, Cambeliza, Court Return, Gun Society, and Lady Panda completed the order of finish.
Always Shopping’s win was her second on turf (following the Monroe Stakes 2 starts back) and her second at the graded stakes level (after the 2019 Gazelle [G2]). The 4-year-old Awesome Again filly improved her record to 13-4-3-1 with $403,030 earned.
“We anticipated (Traipsing) would be on the lead,” Pletcher said. “I thought we might be laying second, but Irad was in a comfortable spot and he said she was taking him wherever he wanted her to go throughout the race. She really jumped in at the top of the stretch and kicked on hard. They weren’t going very fast early, but they were late.”
Always Shopping returned $7.40 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3 to show. Cap de Creus brought back $8.80 to place and $5.40 to show, while Great Island paid $3.40 to show.
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