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FRANKLIN, KY – A loss at Saratoga Race Course last month resulted in a big win for Hendy Woods Thursday in the $400,000 One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
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Hendy Woods, a Stonestreet Stables homebred, came from off the pace under Tyler Gaffalione to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Sweet Melania. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:38.33 and paid $6.60 as the second choice in the field of 11 older fillies and mares.
“Actually, I thought this was a tough race,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I was surprised with the ease that she won it. She was training really well. We lost a heart-breaker with her at Saratoga.”
That heartbreaking 1/2-length loss in the listed De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga on August 8 turned out to be a timely defeat. If she had won that race, then she would not have been eligible for the One Dreamer, which is restricted to horses that have not won a stakes this year. First-place money in the $120,000 De La Rose, won by Regal Glory, was $66,000. Hendy Woods earned $233,120 in the One Dreamer, pushing her career earnings to $528,451.
Hendy Woods was Gaffalione’s third winner of the day and fourth of the meet. His record through the first 4 days of the 6-day meet is 4-7-4 from 33 starts. He is second in purse money earned to Joel Rosario, the record-setting runaway leader in wins, with $923,173.
“It started off a little slow, but we just kept persevering,” Gaffalione said. “Our horses are showing well today in the big races. This filly was push-button the whole way. She broke sharp, put me in a great spot. It was just hang on, really. She really stretched it out beautifully. All the credit goes to Mark and his team.”
Gaffalione was up for the De La Rose, which the 4-year-old filly led late, but was overtaken.
“Last time she ran a big race,” he said. “You never want to lose, but it actually worked out because we were able to run in this.”
Sweet Melania led the way through opening fractions of 22.74 and 45.98 seconds. She was 1 1/12 lengths in front through 6 furlongs in 1:10.28. Hendy Wood was never more than about 3 lengths off the pace, took over at the 1/8 pole, and extended her advantage through the stretch.
Alta’s Award was third at 25/1. Dominga, the 2/1 favorite, was fifth, a head and a nose behind Alta’s Award.
In 2019, Casse and Gaffalione and Stonestreet won the One Dreamer with Hanalei Moon.
“This has been a good race,” Casse said. “We’re going to try again next year.”
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