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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Alpha Delta Stables LLC’s Great Island overcame a bad stumble at the start to put her head in front at the finish of Saturday’s $100,000 Suwanee River (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Making her first main-track start in the 1 1/8-mile stakes for older fillies and mares that was taken off the turf due to afternoon rain, the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy collected her first career stakes victory while narrowly prevailing over pacesetter Drop a Hint on a sealed sloppy racetrack.
The Chad Brown-trained filly provided jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. with his fourth of six victories on Saturday’s 12-race program.
Sent to post as the 1/5 favorite in a field reduced to six by scratches, Great Island stumbled leaving the starting gate to drop several lengths behind the field heading into the first turn. Drop a Hint set fractions of 24.28 and 48.81 seconds without pressure for the first 1/2-mile and continued to show the way on the far turn after rebuffing a challenge by Loving Moment.
Great Island steadily advanced along the backstretch and far turn to reach contention on the turn into the homestretch, but Drop a Hint wasn’t showing any signs of weakening under Edgard Zayas.
“It’s hard to overcome after that in the first part of the race. She just stumbled, big-time, twice. After I said, ‘Let me just see what she can do.’ I just let her settle and by the backside she started moving really good so I didn’t want to take too much hold of her after what happened in the beginning. I just let her roll and find her stride,” Ortiz said.
It took the entire length of the stretch, but Ortiz succeeded in urging the Chad Brown trainee to victory by a head.
“By the 1/4 pole, I had to start working on her, but thank God, she kept coming. The trainer did a great job. She had a lot of stamina,” Ortiz said. “For a second, I thought she didn’t want to go by the other horse probably, and she was looking at her, so I just tried to stay a little away in the stretch so she can feel free and go on and pass that horse. I got lucky I could go by.”
Great Island, who was placed third after finishing second in the Via Borghese at Gulfstream in her previous start, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.51. Drop a Hint finished second, a 1/2-length ahead of Mylastfirstkiss.
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