Stopshoppingmaria Carries On in Ladies Turf Sprint
Stopshoppingmaria kept on winning at Gulfstream Park Sunday, capturing her third straight victory at five furlongs on turf in the $60,000 Ladies Turf Sprint.
The 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready, who captured allowance races on Dec. 14 and Jan. 18, took down her first stakes victory against a deep field of nine fillies and mares in the sixth running of the turf sprint.
“She’s really worked out great at this meet. We were unsure of what her best distance would be. When she won the allowance race going five, we said, ‘Let’s try the next one,’ and that worked out well. I think she seems progressively better at it every time,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.
Ridden by John Velazquez, the 6-5 favorite broke alertly to assume striking distance behind pacesetting Rosa Salvage into the stretch, before kicking in through the stretch to prevail by 1 ¾ lengths. Rosa Salvaje, who was ridden by Luis Saez, held second, a half-length ahead of Honey Chile and jockey Jeffrey Sanchez.
Stopshoppingmaria, who ran the five furlongs in 55.48 seconds, had demonstrated talent both on dirt and at longer distances before her emergence as a sprinting specialist on turf. She broke her maiden over Saratoga’s main track in August 2011 by nearly 10 lengths, before finishing second in the Frizette (G1) at a mile and another runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) at a mile.
“I’m really proud of her. She’s a really accomplished filly at longer distances, but this seems this to be her forte,” said Pletcher, who trains the Kentucky-bred for the Repole Stable.
While Stopshoppingmaris has found her niche in five-furlongs turf sprints, Pletcher won’t necessarily limit her options.
“When we get back to New York, they offer six- and seven-furlong races – that might be within her scope,” Pletcher said. “We might even try her at a mile.”