OCEANSIDE, NJ – Sheep Pond Partners and All Pro Racing’s Elysea’s World launched a strong bid in the stretch to overtake her lauded stablemate Dream Awhile and give their trainer Chad Brown the exacta in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 WinStar Watchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Breaking without incident from post 7 under Jose Ortiz, Elysea’s World settled off the rail in mid-pack while Special Event chased Viva Vegas through opening splits of :24.79, :48.31, and 1:11.67.1. When Dream Awhile made her move in the far turn and began circling her foes, Elysea’s World tucked in right behind. The two emerged onto the front stretch running strongly, and for a moment, it seemed as though the 3-5 favorite might best her stablemate. Gaining momentum in the final 1/16, Elysea’s World was able to steal victory in the shadow of the wire, crossing with a neck advantage in a final time of 1:47.70 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“I’m glad we got the win,” said Ortiz, who also won the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup one race earlier. “To be honest, when we passed the 3/8 pole, I didn’t think we could catch the other filly because Joe (Bravo, aboard Dream Awhile) was going pretty easy. I was already trying to get close to him and he was already passing horses on the outside very easy. When we passed the 1/4 pole, I still didn’t think I would get there. I kept riding my horse, riding my horse, and when we got to the 1/16 pole, I thought, ‘Now I’ve got a shot.’ My filly got a little bit of momentum and we got clear on the outside, and Chad’s other filly backed up a little bit and we just got it. She gave me everything she had.”
Some 5 lengths farther back, the early leaders fought for show, with Special Event taking third by a 1/2-length over Viva Vegas. Lift Up, Party Boat, and Broken Bridle completed the order of finish. Con Te Partiro scratched.
Elysea’s World made her first trip back to the winner’s circle since taking the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February. The Irish-bred 5-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees now carries a lifetime bankroll of $502,383.
“In a situation like this (being first and second), you’re hoping for a dead heat – and we almost got it,” Brown said. “These fillies are so close. They were equal weights today, which made a difference. Both of them, I thought, got good trips. They were a nose apart. They’re that close in ability, so it was nice to see them both on the wire. Elysea’s World really had a bad trip last race. She was wide and it just didn’t work out for her. She had trained very well coming up to this race, as did Dream Awhile. They both fired their best shot.”
Elysea’s World returned $10.80 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Dream Awhile brought back $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show, while Special Event paid $3.20 to show. Those playing the Brown exacta received $9.80 for a $1 bet.