HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Graham Motion’s French-bred Thewayiam continued her American dominance on Saturday, powering down the center of the turf course to take home the Grade 3, $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Unhurried after breaking from the rail under Jose Ortiz, Thewayiam saved ground towards the rear early on while My Favorite Gift led through opening fractions of :24.35, :49.11, and 1:13.09. Steadily improving as the field worked through the far turn, Thewayiam found an opening on the stretch and quickly hurried through to take the lead, then dug in late to hold off Salsa Bella before crossing the line first by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:36.90 for the mile-long event.
“It was perfect,” Ortiz said. “I just tried to do what I did last time and stay on the rail. Today I had the 1 hole – it was perfect. I stayed there for as long as I could. When I asked her to go, she had a great kick.”
Salsa Bella, under Jose’s older brother Irad, completed the Ortiz Brothers exacta, finishing 1 3/4 lengths past Andina Del Sur. My Favorite Gift faded late to finish fourth ahead of Go Noni Go, while Cash Out necked out sixth over the favored Data Dependent. The remaining finishers were Arabella Bella and Queen’s Fate.
Thewayiam’s victory was her third in four American starts, with her lone loss coming in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar on November 25. Owned by a partnership of Great Point Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables, the 3-year-old daughter of Thewayyouare improved her career record (including three European starts) to 11-7-0-1 with earnings of $171,397.
“You don’t need to give Jose instructions,” Motion said. “She’s a little small, a little compact and it’s just easy to maneuver her, particularly here on this turf course where you need to duck and dive into good gaps. She’s very tough, and she’s got a great turn of foot, and I think that really helps her. When she ran in California, we really took her out of her game. We kind of rushed her out of there and she had a bad post. That’s just a race to put a line through. It wasn’t fair to put on her, really. She obviously loves this course, and I think the difference was we got the jump on the other filly. The other filly first time over here didn’t break that good and she was coming at the end, but Jose said he had a little left.”
Thewayiam returned $11.40 to win, $5.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Salsa Bella brought back $6.80 to place and $4 to show, while Andina Del Sur paid $4 to show.