ELMONT, NY – Multiple graded stakes winner Sea Calisi was impressive in her 2017 debut, capturing the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay for the second consecutive year on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 6 with Irad Ortiz, Jr., in the irons, Sea Calisi settled in sixth position as Zipessa set modest fractions of :24.84 and :49.83. As the field reached the 1/4-pole, Sea Calisi began to make her way from the two path, with Suffused closely tracking her. The two overtook the leaders and were set down at the top of the stretch, driving past their foes.
Extending her lead in the deep stretch, Sea Calisi secured victory by 2 1/2 lengths, completing the 1 3/8 miles in 2:16.83. The 5-year-old French-bred boosted her career earnings past the million dollar mark with a current total of $1,015,513.
“I had a lot of horse and I went in comfortable,” said Ortiz, Jr. “I didn’t want Suffused to get out, so I made the move and got the jump on her. She’s a big-time closer. When I asked her, she really moved. She’s good from the distance.”
Apple Betty came home third, with Achnaha, Zipessa, and Voila La Victoire completing the order of finish.
“She just had a little time off after the Breeders’ Cup, and Chad felt it was a good starting point for her,” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Brown. “She won the race last year and it suits her. I thought she ran terrific. It’ll be a really great race to start her off this year.”
Sea Calisi returned $4.20, $2.70, and $2.10. Suffused brought back $2.60 and $2.10, while Apple Betty paid $2.50 to show.