Dreaming of Sophia Pulls the Switch in The Cellars Shiraz Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Dreaming of Sophia was trained to precision for Saturday’s $75,000 Cellars Shiraz Stakes. The only problem facing Frank Calabrese’s homebred was that the stakes scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream turf course was switched to the muddy main track.
“I worked her on the grass for this, and she worked really good on the grass. So I really loved my chances on the grass,” trainer Kirk Ziadie said. “But as soon as the track came up muddy, and speed hasn’t been holding up that well, I was a little worried.”
Ziadie needn’t have been concerned. Dreaming of Sophia handled the mud with the strides of precision he had expected her to employ over the turf course, powering her way to a 6 ½-length victory.
“She surprised me. I thought she was going to come up a little tired, but I guess she has so much class that she ran away with it,” Ziadie said.
Making her first start beyond six furlongs and around two turns, Dreaming of Sophia closely stalked the early pace set by Love to Score along the backstretch and into the far turn before being asked for her run by jockey Fernando Jara. The daughter of Michael Lewis assumed the lead into the stretch and, when her trainer feared she might come up a little short, she pulled away to victory in her stakes debut.
“We always knew she wanted to go longer, we really did, but I trained her for hard, fast turf,” Ziadie said. “I thought I did enough, but when the track came up like this, I thought the last sixteenth she was going to come up a little tired. But she didn’t. She proved she was much the best.”
Dreaming of Sophia, who was sent to post as the 5-2 third choice, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.70 to collect her third win in six starts and the $45,000 winner’s share of the purse.
"I just wanted to put her in a good position. I wanted to make her happy and when it was time to go I would ask her to pick it up,” Jara said. “And when I asked her to pick it up, she did it easy. And this track today, it's a little heavy, so I think it was a good effort. The distance was no problem."
Marty Wolfson-trained Swinger’s Party, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Eddie Nunez, raced just outside Dreaming of Sophia during the early going and claimed second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Love to Score and jockey Edgard Zayas. Wolfson-trained E B Ryder, the morning-line favorite for the turf, raced evenly in the mud to finish fourth as the 2-1 second choice, 3 ¾ lengths farther back.