SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Trainer Chad Brown earned the exacta with Uni‘s record-breaking scored over stablemate Fifty Five and three others in Saturday’s $100,000 Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct.
Sent off from post 3 as the prohibitive 4-5 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Uni settled along the rail in third while Stallion Heiress posted splits of :24.40, :47.92, and 1:10.87. Angled off the rail at the top of the stretch, Uni took her cue and raced past the outside of the leader while Fifty Five rallied late up the rail. Drawing off in the final strides, Uni hit the wire first by a sold length in a final time of 1:33.42, a new record for a mile-long outer turf event at Aqueduct.
“He (Brown) knows his horses,” said Ortiz, Jr. “Last year, she wasn’t always breaking good, but today, she broke good, and I got a perfect trip. It’s her first time coming back for the year, so he said to break wherever she’s comfortable and go from there. She was ready. They have a great team, the assistants, everybody. They did a good job with her. She came back good. She showed today that she can do it, and she did it the right way.”
Fifty Five was able to outrun Stallion Heiress late to take second by a neck. My Impression and Not Taken never factored and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Uni’s win was her second in five starts, all stakes, since the British-bred filly shipped overseas after being privately purchased by a parternship between Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert V. LaPenta, and Bethlehem Stables. The 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready improved her career record to 11-4-3-2 with earnings of $547,880. The Plenty of Grace was her first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland last October.
“She just shipped up to me about a week ago, so all the legwork was done in Florida (where Brown trains his horses), and they did a great job and she showed it here today,” said Whit Beckman, assistant to Brown. “We didn’t really have any instructions coming into the race, just to let her break, get comfortable, leaving it up to Irad, and he did the right thing. We’re happy with the result and looking forward to what she can do the rest of the year, as well.”
Uni returned $3.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Fifty Five brought back $3.70 to place and $2.80 to show, while Stallion Heiress paid $4.50 to show.