HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – John McCormack’s Elizabeth Way struck the front early and never relented, taking the field gate to wire in Saturday’s $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking sharply from post 9 under Paco Lopez at 14/1 odds, Elizabeth Way went right to the lead under her own power and safely crossed over to the rail heading into the clubhouse turn. While English Affair tracked her in second from a lane off of the rail, Elizabeth Way posted relatively quick fractions of :23.76, :48.69, and 1:13.45.
The field bunched up heading into the far turn and Romantic Pursuit made a strong three-wide outside bid at the top of the stretch, but Elizabeth Way held her ground and refused to yield. Continuing to find more in the tank with each step, Elizabeth Way drew off well in the stretch before crossing 1 1/4 lengths clear at the wire.
Trained by Roger Attfield, Elizabeth Way completed the 1 3/16-mile event over the firm turf course in a final time of 1:54.26.
“The last time I rode this filly, I had to ride her very hard and ended up towards the back of the field,” Lopez said. “Today, she broke very sharp and wanted to make the lead. I was waiting for someone to make the lead, but I didn’t see anyone. I thought we were going pretty slow, but then I saw the time – 23 – which for me is a little fast, but she wanted to make the lead and made it look easy. I know in the second and third 1/4 (mile fractions), I went pretty slow. I’m very comfortable with her and she did great today.”
Romantic Pursuit held second by a neck over La Signare, with Touriga just a head behind them in fourth. Layla Noor was fifth, while Empressof the Nile necked out Queen of Time for sixth.
The 5/2 favorite Cap de Creus and Ferdinanda unsuccessfully attempted to rally from the rear before finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. English Affair, Raining Lemons, and Lemon Zip completed the order of finish.
Elizabeth Way’s win was her second straight, having broken her maiden here on January 19 while making her North American debut. The Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Frankel, purchased from breeder Godolphin last November for $64,219, improved her record to 7-2-2-0 with $118,039 earned.
“The plan was to just let her run her race; it was as simple as that,” Attfield said. “The gentleman that owns the horse was really keen to do this and I still think that she’s going to be better as she goes farther. When she popped out of there, we were just hoping that maybe she could get some black type. She’s been training super well the last 10 days, so it didn’t really surprise me that she’d run really well, but I didn’t think she’d do it all the way on the lead.”
Elizabeth Way returned $30.80 to win, $13.40 to place, and $9.40 to show. Romantic Pursuit brought back $11.20 to place and $8.20 to show, while La Signare paid $9.80 to show.