Elysea’s World Makes the Grade in $150,000 Suwannee River (G3)
Feb 11, 2018
Noses Out Stablemate Dream Awhile in 1 1/8-Mile Turf Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Winless in nine starts last year, six of them in graded stakes, Sheep Pond Partners and All Pro Racing’s Elysea’s World broke through with a ground saving trip to kick off her final season of racing with a neck victory over younger stablemate Dream Awhile in Saturday’s $150,000 Suwannee River (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 71st running of the 1 1/8-mile Suwannee River for fillies and mares 4 and older was the second of two graded turf stakes on the 12-race program, following Heart to Heart’s victory in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1).
Elysea’s World ($9.60), a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, completed the distance in 1:47.75 over a firm turf course to edge 4-year-old Dream Awhile, who was a half-length ahead of Ultra Brat in a three-way photo finish.
It was the third Suwannee River victory for Castellano following Sandiva (2015) and Channel Lady (2013) and third for trainer Chad Brown, who won previously with Tammy the Torpedo (2016) and Tottie (2010).
Elysea’s World was second in last year’s Suwannee River by 1 ¼ lengths to subsequent Grade 1 winner Dickinson, part of a 2017 campaign where she finished second or third six times. In her career, she had five seconds and two thirds in 10 graded-stakes attempts.
“You just hope for a dead heat. Both horses were training well,” Brown said. “It’s a tough situation right on the wire a nose apart with both horses running so well, but with Elysea’s World being the older horse and being the bridesmaid so many times it was a real breakthrough for her in her last year of racing to finally win that graded stake. The way Dream Awhile ran, you can’t help but think she’s going to have many graded stakes ahead of her in her young career.”
California-based Midnight Crossing, a front-running half-length winner over Elysea’s World in the Robert J. Frankel (G3) Dec. 30 at Santa Anita, set an uncontested pace of 24.61 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.88 for the half as Ultra Brat on the inside and Dream Awhile battled in behind with 8-5 favorite Kitten’s Roar in the clear on their outside.
Dream Awhile moved up to challenge Midnight Crossing and took over the top spot after they went six furlongs in 1:12.11. Castellano tipped Elysea’s World out straightening for home and set his sights on the leader as Ultra Brat dug in up the rail, and the three charged to the wire together.
“She’s a horse that likes to come from behind, but today she was placed a little closer. I like the way she broke today and I put her in good spot,” Castellano said. “Turning for home, I asked her and she was rolling. She’s been a little unlucky lately in her last couple races the way they unfolded. Today, she had a perfect trip.”
Kitten’s Roar finished fourth, 1 ¾ lengths behind Ultra Brat, followed by Westit, Flipcup, Grade 1 winner Dream Dancing and Beauly.
Elysea’s World boosted her bankroll to $423,383 from 17 career starts, while Dream Awhile was making just her third North American start since coming to the U.S. from France last summer. She won the Tropical Park Oaks over Westit Dec. 30 at Gulfstream.
“These two horses both got the trips. Dream Awhile was a little closer than I thought in a good way. I was hoping she’d leave out of there and assert herself and she did. Elysea’s World didn’t quite get the break again that we had hoped,” Brown said. “She’s not too good from the gate, but Javier found a way to tuck in and be about two wide most of the way and waited patiently on the turn. I think that was the difference right there. He waited until they straightened away to tip her out and it conserved just enough horse to get up.
“It’s her last year of racing and she’s been so close particularly last year, she ran some terrific races in graded stakes and couldn’t win with tough trips and such,” he added. “For her to win today it meant a lot to her value, and Dream Awhile is a horse that we haven’t run too many times. She’s still young and I think she has a bright future ahead of her.”