ELMONT, NY – Not many North American debuts look better than what the French-bred Tamahere put on as she strolled home to win Saturday’s $150,000 Sands Point Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Tamahere was the 5/2 co-second choice as she broke from the rail under Irad Ortiz Jr. and sat well off the early pace.
Pure Wow dueled just ahead of the 2/1 favorite Miss J McKay through opening fractions of :23.87, :47.54, and 1:11.68.
Tipped out near the top of the stretch, Tamahere exploded with a huge rush to take the lead in mid-stretch, then immediately opened up on her fellow 3-year-old fillies.
The Chad Brown trainee crossed 2 lengths clear in hand while completing the firm outer turf mile in 1:35.21.
“She broke good and put me in a good position,” said Ortiz Jr. “We got some pace in front of us and that worked out perfect because she settled down and relaxed so well. The trainer had told me, ‘She has a nice turn-of-foot, you’re going to love her.’ I just trusted Chad and waited as long as I could, and when I asked her, she was ready.”
Speaktomeofsummer took second by 3/4 of a length over Drop a Hint, while Pure Wow faded to fourth, a neck past a dead heat for fifth between Giacosa and Selflessly.
Miss J McKay and Positive Power completed the order of finish.
Tamahere’s win followed up a successful outing in the Prix la Sorellina in her native country and increased her career earnings to $132,291. The Wootton Bassett filly, now co-owned by Swift Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables, improved her lifetime record to 7-3-2-1.
“She trained brilliantly,” Brown said after his fourth career Sands Point score. “She’s a high-strung horse. She was a little bit keen early on, but Irad got her to settle and she showed us that turn of foot that she showed us in the morning. She’s a really exciting horse to have for the future. We’re lucky to have her. She gave us a lot of confidence that she would be a good horse.”
Tamahere returned $7 to win, $4.30 to place, and $3.10 to show. Speaktomeofsummer brought back $5.60 to place and $3.80 to show, while Drop a Hint paid $11 to show.