Pedigrees Prevail in Saturday Maidens
By Catie Staszak
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Three back-to-back 3-year-old maiden races highlighted Saturday’s undercard, and some royal pedigrees translated to trips to the winners’ circle.
Lucky for You, a filly by Malibu Moon out of the stakes-winning Ayla Bella, took the fifth race by an impressive five lengths, breaking her maiden in her third career start. The Todd Pletcher trainee stalked the front-running Quinnkat early before taking command at the top of the stretch and drawing off comfortably. Under Javier Castellano, Lucky for You covered the 1 1/16 mile distance in 1:43.39 and paid $5.40 to win.
“I was very pleased,” Pletcher said. “We were looking forward to stretching her out and she got a really nice trip today, was able to stalk one horse in a good, comfortable rhythm and I thought she finished up really well.”
Lucky for you was purchased for $310,000 as a yearling by Michael Tabor; her dam has now produced three winners from three starters.
“We’ll see how she comes out of it, but we feel like she’s a stakes-caliber filly,” Pletcher said.
She’s Justified was third, and Quilt, coming off a seventh-month layoff, was fourth.
Another line of stakes winners was represented in the seventh race, when Robert Evans’ bay colt Dance Champion broke his maiden in his second career start while going a mile on the turf. Dance Champion is a son of multiple Grade 1 winner Medaglia d’Oro and Dance Away Capote, herself a Grade 3 winner. The colt made a bold four-wide move on the far turn before drawing off impressively. He was three lengths the victor over first time starter Charge Now, a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. The final time was 1:35.55.
“Nice horse, nice run,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “He’s a fit horse today, and he’s got a career ahead of him. I’m a lucky man.”
The seventh race featured three Triple Crown nominees, including winner Victory Nor Defeat, who was making his first career start for trainer Ralph Nicks and Sagamore Farm. The bay colt by Unbridled Song, who produces debut winners at a 15% clip, out of the graded-stakes placed Daisyago was in tight quarters early but was able to find his stride and cross the finish line three lengths in front, impressing trainer Ralph Nicks.
“He’s a really nice horse,” Nicks said. “For him to win first time is a bonus, because he’s not really the type for me that normally wins first time. He’s not that fast horse that just runs everything off their feet, so it was a big race.”
Victory Nor Defeat was ridden by John Velazquez, who happily called over to Nicks upon entering the Winner’s Circle, “Just keep him sound.” He covered the seven-furlong distance in 1:23.33.
Although the colt made a late debut, Nicks believes Victory Nor Defeat, who paid $13.20 to win, could be a horse worthy of consideration for the Triple Crown Trail.
“I would think so,” Nicks said. “He has the pedigree to run on. He looks the part and he moves the part, and he’s smart enough.”
Hallowed ($17.40) was second and Yap Yap Yap ($9.00) was third.