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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Matties Racing Stable and Averill Racing’s defending champion Lady’s Island first survived a narrow finish at the wire, then survived a jockey’s objection and a steward’s inquiry before officially being named the winner of Saturday’s $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Lady’s Island broke well from post 2 at 9/2 odds under Emisael Jaramillo and was gifted an uncontested lead, which she used to post unpressured early fractions of :22.12 and :44.54.
Straightening for home still all on her own, Lady’s Island weakened inside the 1/16 pole and drifted out a lane, but she had just enough left to hold off a trio of late runners.
The Georgina Baxter trainee completed the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:10.46 with a final winning margin of a head.
“I am so pleased she was able to defend her crown,” Baxter said. “They write her off, but to me, where she’s right, she’s one of the quickest fillies in America.”
Bronx Beauty closed fastest of all and took second by 3/4 of a length and a neck, respectively, over the even-money favorite Cinnabunny and Sound Machine, who was sandwiched between the two.
Aunt Nadine and a distanced Golden Ami completed the order of finish.
Following the race, there was a steward’s inquiry and an objection from Irad Ortiz Jr. (aboard Cinnabunny) due to Lady’s Island drifting out near the wire, but both were dismissed and the original order of finish stood firm.
Lady’s Island’s win was her second at the graded stakes level following last year’s triumph and improved her overall record to 34-17-5-4. The Florida-bred 6-year-old Greatness mare, claimed for $16,000 in June 2018, has now bankrolled $604,195 in her career.
“We don’t know what the future holds for her,” said co-owner Rich Averill. “This could be one of her last races.”
Lady’s Island returned $11 to win, $5 to place, and $3.20 to show. Bronx Beauty brought back $6.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Cinnabunny paid $2.60 to show.
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