Amazing Grace Shows Her Class Winning $150,000 Orchid (G3)
German-Bred Mare Rallies in Stretch in North American Debut
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Though she did not have an ideal trip, Amazing Grace completed her first race in North America with a half-length victory Saturday in the $150,000 Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 59th running of the 1 ½-mile Orchid for fillies and mares 4 and up on the grass was the fourth of 10 stakes, five graded, worth $2.35 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program anchored by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa for 3-year-olds.
Veteran trainer Christophe Clement, saddling the mare for the first time, won the Orchid for the eighth time. He also saddled the third-place finisher Atomic Blonde.
While Transient led the way with opening fractions of 24.53 seconds and 49.58, Amazing Grace and Joel Rosario were stationed near the back of the eight-horse field. Rosario had her toward the inside in the run through the backstretch, swung her wide on the third turn and came back closer to the rail when the leader, Personal Best, drifted out in the stretch.
Amazing Grace, a 5-year-old German-bred daughter of Protectionist, was twice a Group 2 winner in Germany. She finished in the top three in her final eight starts in Europe, all stakes. Moyglare Stud Farm purchased her for $895,972 in a breeding stock sale in December and sent her to Clement.
Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Amazing Grace completed the 10 furlongs in 2:28.82 and paid $4.40. Joseph Allen’s Personal Best, who was bidding for her second-straight graded-stakes win, edged Atomic Blonde by 1 ¼ lengths for second.
$150,000 Orchid (G3) Quote
Trainer Christophe Clement (Amazing Grace, 1st; Atomic Blonde, 3rd): “I'm not sure there are that many races I've won eight times. I'm not sure what that means. I'm getting old. That's what it means. She's been training well. They've [Amazing Grace and third-place finisher Atomic Blonde] have been training together. We were excited to see them run. It's a good story. Everybody's happy. They were very good purchases.”
Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Amazing Grace): “First time riding her, she closed well and I had a lot of confidence in her because of her class, although I didn't expect it to be this close. I had not had the chance to work with her previously, but I'm glad it all worked out at the end. I tried to bide my time and not move too early considering all of that.”