HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Godolphin Racing’s Dickinson snuck through a narrow opening along the rail and surged in the final eighth of a mile to earn her first graded stakes victory in the $150,000, G3 Suwannee River Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 69th running of the 1 1/8 mile Suwannee River for females 4 and up was the first of three graded stakes worth $850,000 in purses on the 12-race program, followed by the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and the $350,000 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
Under jockey Paco Lopez, riding the 5-year-old mare for the first time, Dickinson ($11.40) hit the wire in 1:45.38 over a firm turf course, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of late-running Elysea’s World. It was another head back to 2015 winner and 3-2 favorite Sandiva, making the 24th and final start of her career.
“They just told me to try the best you can. You’ll figure out when the gates open,” Lopez said. “My race was perfect. I was in perfect position and I wanted to wait because I saw [jockey Javier] Castellano moved a little early [on Sandiva]. When I asked her to run, the rail opened and my filly went flying through there.”
The trip wasn’t as fortunate in Dickinson’s last start, the 1 1/16-mile Marshua’s River (G3) Jan. 14 at Gulfstream, where she stalked the pace but had to steady in traffic on the turn before finishing well to be fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths.
“[Her last race] was a funny effort. Johnny Velazquez is not only a great Hall of Fame rider, he’s a friend; he just came back and said I couldn’t get her to go around the turn,” winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Thinking back, she hadn’t gone two turns before so maybe that helped us today to end up in the winner’s circle with this being the second time around two turns.”
Dickinson settled in fourth racing two wide outside Sea Coast following 70-1 long shot leader Cali Thirty Seven through a quarter-mile in 23.43 seconds and a half in 47.27. Cali Thirty Seven was still in front but weakening after going six furlongs in 1:10.79 as Castellano revved up Sandiva to launch a bid on the outside.
Lopez found himself surrounded by horses on the turn before straightening for home, where he weaved through horses before squeezing between Cali Thirty Seven and the rail until shaking clear past the eighth pole to separate from a tight pack.
“I got lucky this time,” Lopez said. “Sometimes you have horse and nowhere to go, but this time we got lucky.”
It was the third win in four races and fifth overall for Dickinson, a bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the A.P. Indy mare Little Belle, growing her bankroll to $275,036 from 12 starts.
“She is a super nice filly, with a super pedigree. A graded stakes win is very important for her,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll stay [on the turf]. Maybe she will reward us this year.”
Source: Gulfstream Park