ELMONT, NY – Pacific Wind flew down the stretch and hung her competition out to dry in the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian at Belmont Park on Sunday. This was the first stakes victory and second consecutive first-place finish for the four-year-old daughter of Curlin.
Pacific Wind broke cleanly under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and settled a close fourth through the early going as Faypien took the field of five through an opening quarter-mile in 23.04 seconds and a half in 46.39. Pacific Wind was angled out from her inside position as Highway Star assumed control in the turn. Jockey Irad Ortiz guided his charge through a five-wide move into the stretch and reeled in Highway Star in the final jumps to complete the one-turn mile in 1:36.22. Tequilita finished third, a half-length behind Highway Star, and was followed by Faypien who completed the superfecta.
“I broke good and got a nice trip,” said Ortiz. “I waited there, just following horses. When I got in the clear, I asked her and she took off.”
Trained by Chad Brown, Pacific Win has now won three of her last four races since switching to the dirt last fall. She made her first start for Brown in an optional claiming race on April 13 at Keeneland, where she drew off to an impressive 8 ¼-length win to earn a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for owners Sharon Alesia, Ciaglia Racing, Peter Brant and Dominic Savides.
“She’s really been training well and we were cautiously optimistic that she could step up in a race of this caliber,” said Brown. “Cutting back to one turn was a little bit of a concern. She had run well in a two-turn mile in Keeneland. But she got a favorable setup in front of her. She showed her versatility running at one turn today. She showed a real good closing kick. All around, she’s a really nice filly.”
The 3-2 favorite Pacific Wind paid $5 to win $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show. Highway Star brought back $5.90 to place and $3.20 to show while Tequilita returned $2.90 to show.
Scratched: Holiday Disguise (trainer)