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ELMONT, NY – A surging late run was enough to get the job done for the even-money favorite, Santa Monica, in Saturday’s Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. This was the second consecutive graded stakes score for the six-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman following her win in the Orchid Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream last time out.
Lady Montdore broke well from the inside post and went straight to the lead. She was joined by Semper Sententiae who broke from the second post as well as Giant Zinger who quickly reached the front from the outside. As Giant Zinger reached the front, Semper Sententiae eased back off the leaders and Lady Montdore settled on the rail giving Giant Zinger a clear path to the front. She took sole possession of the lead by the top of the backstretch and put a length between herself and the rest of the field as she set fractions of :25.25, :48.30, and 1:19.32.
Into the backstretch, Vexatious moved up alongside Semper Sententiae and left Santa Monica as the lone horse at the back. Santa Monica however was just biding her time and before they hit the final turn had already started making her move with jockey Joe Bravo aboard. She quickly exploded around the turn and flew past the rest of the horses on her way to claiming the lead. Santa Monica never looked back as she cruised to a 1 1/4 length victory. Giant Zinger tried to hold on, however, Semper Sententiae’s late burst of speed moved her up into second and Giant Zinger was forced to settle for third. Lady Montdore finished fourth.
“I think everyone agreed before the race she was the best horse in the race,” said jockey Joe Bravo. “It was [interesting] time-wise; they ran away from there pretty quickly – 48 [half-mile in 48.30 seconds] for that distance is quick, but they slowed it way down. I looked up and there were only four horses in front of us, so I made a really early move with her and class prevailed.”
Santa Monica is owned by R Unicorn Stable and trained by Chad Brown. Her win here today brought her career earnings to $543,024.
“She did it very, very professionally,” said assistant trainer Whit Beckman. “She was able to settle nicely over the soft going and made a nice little early move. Nobody could come and get her when she moved away in the stretch. I was impressed.”
Santa Monica returned $4.20 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.10 to show. Semper Sententiae brought back $4.30 to place and $2.80 to show, while Giant Zinger paid $2.70 to show.
Scratched: Unbridledadventure (Main-Track-Only), Matty’s Magnum (Main-Track-Only), Holy Helena (Trainer)
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