HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Photo Call took the lead approaching the stretch for the first time and was still there at the end, holding off a late rush by Songoficeandfire to win the $200,000 Orchid (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Favored at even money in a field of nine older fillies and mares, Photo Call ($4) ran 1 3/8 miles in 2:16.38 over a good turf course. It was the first Orchid victory for jockey Javier Castellano and fifth for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won three straight from 2005-07 and again in 2003.
Quiet Kitten led through a quarter mile in 25.31 seconds before Photo Call, tracking in second, took over the top spot as the group rounded the far turn. The 5-year-old Galileo mare relaxed on the front end and had plenty left to turn away Songoficeandfire by three-quarters of a length. Achnaha was 1 ½ lengths back in third.
Winner of the Rodeo Drive (G1) and Violet (G2) stakes last year for previous trainer Graham Motion, Photo Call was making her second start of 2016 after finishing fourth to champion Tepin in the Endeavor (G3) Feb. 13 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Trainer Todd Pletcher (Photo Call): “We just didn’t want to fight her. Last time we tried to cover her up—she got covered up, but never really relaxed. Plan A was that if someone wanted to go, we would tuck in, but if she wasn’t turned off, to not fight her. Javier (Castellano) executed Plan B perfectly. I thought we were always in pretty good shape and hoped she’d just continue to find a little bit more. (Distance?) I think she’s versatile enough depending on the pace scenario. I’m just thankful for the opportunity—the Violas bought a really nice filly. We’ll take her up to New York for some stakes.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (Photo Call): “I had a great trip. I wanted to rate, that was my goal, but unfortunately, she wouldn’t rate. She’s not that kind of horse. You need to let her run. If you rate her too much, she’s not going to run. If you fighter her too much, she’s not going to finish. The key today, let her run.”
Source: Gulfstream Park