"I think she likes Gulfstream Park," said trainer Ralph Nicks, whose 4-year-old trainee ran her record to 3-0 over the Hallandale Beach racing surface.
Sweet Basil broke her maiden by nine lengths at Gulfstream last August for Nicks and owner Keith Plaisance before going to the sidelines for six months. The daughter of Pulpit returned to action during the winter for a pair of third-place finishes on turf at Fair Grounds before being returned to Nicks at Gulfstream Park. Sweet Basil proceeded to capture a six-furlong entry-level allowance on dirt by nearly three lengths on April 11 before successfully stretching out to 1 1/16 miles Saturday.
"She's a very well-bred filly. She's had a lot of issues along the way, but, as I say, she likes Gulfstream Park for some reason. She's been training well since she's been here," Nicks said.
Prado hustled Sweet Basil out of the gate to assume the early lead around the first turn and into the backstretch while keeping his mount off the rail. Jockey Jonathan Gonzales sent Phaniebdancing into the opening along the inside to challenge Sweet Basil, who was patiently handled by her jockey. After racing side by side with Phaniebdancing along the backstretch and into the far turn, Prado asked Sweet Basil for some run, and the Kentucky-bred filly responded to edge away from her challenger. Phaniebdancing held gamely through the stretch but was no match for Sweet Basil, who registered victory by 1 1/2 lengths. Imposing Grace, ridden by Manoel Cruz, finished third, another three-quarters of a length back. Heavily favored Onna Bugeisha was a distant fourth.
"None of the speed materialized. Edgar rode a good race. It wasn't her best style, but my young jockey here did a good job," said Nicks, whose trainee has done her best running from off the early pace in the past.
Sweet Basil ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.71.