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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In dramatic fashion, the 1-2 post time favorite Santa Monica got up late to win Friday’s Orchid Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Giant Zinger went straight to the front for the early lead and set the pace for much of the race. Ickymasho and Cha Cha Heels were always close behind but gave Giant Zinger plenty of space as she set fractions of :25.13, :50.93, and 1:16.87. Santa Monica meanwhile sat comfortably midpack as she bid her time to make a late move. As they headed into the final turn, Ickymasho was the first to put the pressure on Giant Zinger and by the top of the stretch, Ickymasho had a half-length lead. Santa Monica ran into some traffic around the turn, but it didn’t matter because she was loaded and ready to go. Urged on by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Santa Monica exploded into the stretch down the middle of the track. She flew up on the leader and got her nose down ahead of Icymasho in the nick of time. Giant Zinger finished third and Maroubra was fourth.
“I didn’t have too many choices by the three-eighths pole. Nobody on the inside moved, so I had to keep her outside. I had to move early and wide, but I had the best horse in the race,” jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said. “Chad Brown’s horses always come ready. They were going slow in front so I knew I had to go early.”
Santa Monica is trained by Chad Brown and owned by D. J. Erwin Bloodstock. This was the first win for the five-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman since the G2 Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine last year.
Santa Monica returned $3.00 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Ickymasho brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Giant Zinger paid $4.00 to show.
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