SUNSHINE MILIONS DISTAFF | PURSE: $300,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | 1 1/8 MILES
E. Paul Robsham Stables' homebred Sweet N Discreet made a successful try at 1 ⅛ miles for the first time Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park, taking the $300,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff by 1 ½ lengths over Devil's Cave.
The 4-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat came off a runner-up finish to Devil's Cave in Gulfstream's one-mile Ocala Stakes Dec. 29 for trainer Todd Pletcher, that second tallied after back-to-back wins sprinting in allowance company at the South Florida track.
She rated well in third in the two-turn test for older Florida-bred fillies and mares, perfectly positioned by jockey Joe Bravo as Devil's Cave clocked a quarter in :24.21 and a comfortable half in :49.31 with 50-1 shot Burning Truth keeping pace a length behind. Toasting, favored at 4-5 after running second by a head in the Nov. 30 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack, brought up the rear in the field of five.
"It unfolded sort of how we thought it would," Pletcher said. "We were able to get into a good, comfortable spot and pop outside and get into a nice rhythm down the backside. She was traveling really well. It looked like he went into the far turn with a lot of horse and decided to blow the race open right there, and he was able to do it."
Bravo said "go" as they put up three-quarters in 1:14.39, and Sweet N Discreet easily reeled in the frontrunner with a powerful outside move around the turn. Galloping through a 1:37.92 mile while opening a 2 ½-length advantage, the chestnut filly held on despite tiring slightly midstretch. Devil's Cave attempted to come back with a game try, but the wire arrived soon enough for Sweet N Discreet to hold sway.
"I was [concerned about the distance], until about the three-eighths pole, and then I felt pretty good about it," Pletcher said. "She's a filly that we always thought a lot of, especially as a 2-year-old. It took her a little while to get everything together, and it took her trainer about two years to figure out that she wanted to run longer."
"She ran really relaxed and comfortable the first part of the race," Bravo reported. "She had a really nice target off those other horses. Because she was able to go so easy, she was able to have that good turn of foot that she shows sprinting and stretch it out to a mile and an eighth. She ran great today. My hat's off to Todd; he did all the work."
Final time was 1:50.21 on a fast track, with Sweet N Discreet returning $8, $3.80, and $2.10 as the third choice under 117 pounds. Devil's Cave, high weight at 119, paid $3 and $2.10 at 8-5, while Toasting brought $2.10 while six lengths farther back in third. Burning Truth and Dreamlicious completed the order of finish; Sky Skier and My Pal Chrisy scratched, the latter to run in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint Stakes (she finished second).
Bred in Florida out of the Gone West mare West Side Dancer, Sweet N Discreet now has four wins and a pair of seconds in six starts at Gulfstream. The Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff victory improved her overall record to 4-3-2 from 11 outings with earnings of $326,447.