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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hammered down to even-money favoritism, Joseph Imbesi homebred Sweet Bye and Bye looked every bit the part as she won Saturday’s $100,000 Sand Springs Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Sweet Bye and Bye broke from post 3 under Irad Ortiz Jr. and settled into a ground-saving mid-pack position as Sweet Melania hit the front end and posted opening fractions of :24.03, :47.78, and 1:10.66.
Sweet Melania rounded the far turn still in command, but Sweet Bye and Bye had tipped off the rail while cornering and advanced her up to second by the top of the stretch.
Sweeping to the lead a furlong from home, the Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee cleared off before crossing 2 1/2 lengths the best, completing the 1 1/16-mile firm turf route in 1:39.49.
“The filly ran great today,” Ortiz Jr. said. “She was 100%; I just followed instructions. Saffie just told me to just go out there and do whatever I want. My filly was forwardly placed; I just let her be where she wanted to be and come running at the end. It worked out good.”
Feel Glorious rallied late to take second over Abscond, who had closely stalked the pacesetter but couldn’t keep pace with those who outkicked her.
Sweet Melania, Niko’s Dream, Runway Dreamer, and Art of Almost completed the order of finish.
Sweet Bye and Bye’s win was her second at the stakes level following the 2018 Crowd Pleaser at Parx against her fellow Pennsylvania-breds. The 6-year-old Sky Mesa mare’s record improved to 20-8-4-4 with $506,060 earned.
“Early in the race, she was very relaxed,” Joseph Jr. said. “I thought she might be too relaxed, but she had plenty of run in her, so we’re thankful for that. Irad gave her a perfect trip and thank Joe (Imbesi) for giving us a filly of this quality.”
Sweet Bye and Bye returned $4 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. Feel Glorious brought back $3 to place and $2.20 to show. Abscond paid $3.20 to show.
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