HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s 1-2 favorite Camila Princess was awarded first-place honors following the stewards’ controversial decision to take down the original winner, Midnight Soiree, in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 8 under Miguel Vasquez, Camila Princess settled three-wide at the rear while R Paper Chaser set opening fractions of :25.56, :51.05, and 1:15.29. Commencing a three- and four-wide bid together down the stretch, Camila Princess and Midnight Soiree soon passed the early leader and battled shoulder-to-shoulder for the final furlong. While the pair did brush sides more than once, nothing appeared egregious until near the finish line, when Midnight Soiree (along the inside under Luca Panici) began to inch forward and knocked her right hip against Camila Princess’ left shoulder. That was enough to cause the favorite to stumble slightly and veer out a few lengths while also forcing Vasquez to pull up on the reins. Midnight Soiree crossed with a 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:38.84 for the mile-long turf event, but following a stewards’ review and Vasquez’s objection against Panici, Midnight Soiree was disqualified for interference and placed second.
A photo finish for third was ultimately awarded to Whiteheelgirl by a nose over Strike My Fancy, while Prospectively took fifth. A fading R Paper Chaser dead-heated for sixth with Silver Bay to complete the order of finish, while Kathy’s Clown was a pre-race scratch.
Camila Princess’ win was her third straight at Gulfstream Park, where she carries a record of 6-4-0-1. The 3-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom improved her overall record to 8-5-0-1 with a lifetime bankroll of $175,535.
Camila Princess returned $3 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Midnight Soiree brought back $3.20 to place and $2.20 to show, while Whiteheelgirl paid $7 to show.