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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Alex G. Campbell Jr.’s homebred Ultra Brat was ultra tough in the stretch, fending off all foes to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Marshua’s River Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Off well from post 7 under Nik Juarez, Ultra Brat stalked early leader Gianna’s Dream through slow splits of :26.37 and :51.42. Heading into the far turn, Ultra Brat made her move and took command at the top of the stretch. Favored Dream Dancing began making a move to the outside as Ultra Brat lugged in slightly, but the tepid early pace had allowed for Ultra Brat to save up her energy. Repelling her foes, Ultra Brat hit the line first in a final time of 1:45.35 for the 1 1/16-mile turf event.
“That was a perfect trip,” Juarez said. “We got Ultra Brat to relax outside Gianna’s Dream. On the backside, I knew I had a ton of horse. We had her relaxed sitting off Gianna’s Dream, and when I asked her to run, she was much the best.”
Dream Dancing held on well to stay second. King’s Ghost commenced a late rally down the stretch and nipped out stablemate Inside Out at the wire for third. Abbreviate took fifth, while Gianna’s Dream faded to last in the six-horse field.
Ultra Brat’s win was her first graded stakes victory in her second attempt. The 5-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo improved her record to 11-5-1-0 with career earnings of $272,733. Her previous start, the $125,000 Autumn Day Stakes on November 26 at Aqueduct over 6 furlongs, was her first in 11 months, so trainer Graham Motion was happy with her progression off of the long layoff.
“The one thing Nik said was that he just wanted her relaxed because she was pretty keen last time sprinting,” Motion said. “But it set up well today. She likes this track. It obviously suits her. I think this is probably her optimum, a mile, mile and 1/16. I don’t know that she wants to go much further than that. This was a good spot for her.”
Ultra Brat returned $10.80 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Dream Dancing brought back $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show, while King’s Ghost paid $5 to show.
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