HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Don Alberto Stable’s homebred Dolce Lili overcame a slippery yielding turf course to rally late and outduel three very game foes in Saturday’s $125,000 South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from post 9 under John Velazquez at 3/1 odds, Dolce Lili soon found herself running four-wide in midpack heading into the first turn and slipped slightly midway through the turn but recovered without incident. Meanwhile, Everyonelovesjimmy and the 5/2 favorite Road to Victory dueled through opening fractions of :24.34 and :49.83. Advancing steadily down the backstretch, Dolce Lili found herself four-wide in the front row as the field straightened for home. Digging in gamely while first battling fellow Don Alberto Stable homebred Andina Del Sur, Dolce Lili shook her off in midstretch, then fended off a late challenge from Conquest Hardcandy to secure victory. The Bill Mott trainee crossed with a 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:33.63 for the 7 1/2-furlong sprint.
“With all the rain, we were very lucky to have a horse that handles the soft going,” Mott said. “We didn’t think it would hurt us going in. She’s been doing well. We’re really happy with her. She’s progressed nicely and ran good today.”
Fire Key found her best strides in the shadow of the wire and was able to close late from the rear to take third, a 1/2-length separating her from Conquest Hardcandy in second and a weakening Andina Del Sur in fourth. Lover’s Key took fifth over Piedi Bianchi, who nosed out Fizzy Friday for sixth. Miss O’Hara finished eighth, while Vendita nosed out Corps de Ballet for ninth. Everyonelovesjimmy and Road to Victory weakened to 11th and 12th, respectively, outfinishing only Youngest Daughter to complete the order of finish.
Though the race was the first of the day to not be rained off of the turf course, it nevertheless featured three scratches: Fashionably Wild and Peach of a Gal failed to draw in, but the 7/2 morning line favorite Capla Temptress, did not run due to the track conditions.
Dolce Lili’s win was her first in a stakes effort and improved her overall record to a consistent 12-4-3-4. The 5-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy increased her lifetime bankroll to $251,625.
Dolce Lili returned $8.60 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Conquest Hardcandy brought back $11.40 to place and $6.40 to show, while Fire Key paid $4.40 to show.