Gulfstream Park hosted a pair of Grade 3 events for distaffers on Saturday, with Eskenformoney and Dearest coming out on top in their respective races.
First up was the $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3), which saw Dearest go off the 3-2 second favorite behind 3-5 choice Stonetastic. The duo hooked up from the start and battled it out through splits of :22.08, :44.34 and :56.46.
Dearest stuck her head in front of Stonetastic entering the stretch and pulled away in the lane under jockey Edgard Zayas. You Bought Her came running late but Dearest held to finish six furlongs on the fast dirt in 1:09.59.
Trained by Gilberto Zerpa, Dearest paid $5 for the win. You Bought Her was best of the rest, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Stonestastic, who in turn had 3 1/2 lengths to spare on fourth-placer Danessa Again. Winning for Sarah completed the order under the wire.
Dearest improved her record to read 7-5-1-1, $293,550, and now boasts three stakes wins, adding the Sugar Swirl to previous scores in the Azalea Stakes and Royal Palm Stakes. She entered Saturday’s contest off a second in the September 4 Prioress Stakes (G2) and also shows a third-place run in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) on February 27.
Bred in Kentucky by Daniel J. Burke and Kathleen Schweizer, Dearest is campaigned by Gelfenstein Farm. She is the first registered foal out of the Cherokee Run mare Keowee Clai and comes from the same female family as Grade 1-winning sire Flashy Bull as well as Canadian champion and Grade 1-scoring stallion Perfect Soul.
One race later, Eskenformoney rallied for a three-quarter length victory in the $100,000 Rampart Stakes (G3) with Javier Castellano aboard.
The dark bay four-year-old bided her time in third as Genre set fractions of :23.53, :45.64 and 1:09.71 while dueling with 1-5 favorite Curlin’s Approval. The heavy favorite managed to take brief command in the stretch but Eskenformoney was hot on her hooves.
The StarLadies Racing colorbearer came three wide and dug deep to pass Curlin’s Approval, stopping the clock in 1:35.47 for a mile over the fast dirt. Eskenformoney returned $13.20 to her backers as the 5-1 third pick.
Curlin’s Approval and Genre came next under the wire while Caboclo do Rio, Tormenta de Oro, Screaming Skylar and Inside Out completed the order of finish.
Eskenformoney earned her first stakes victory in this spot having previously placed in six others. Her stakes placings include the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) and Turnback the Alarm Handicap (G3) from earlier this season as well as the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Davona Dale Stakes (G2) and Monmouth Oaks (G3) from last year. She now shows a 20-4-5-3 mark having banked $407,316 lifetime.
Bred in Kentucky by Ramspring Farm, the Todd Pletcher-trained Eskenformoney is out of the Not for Love mare But for Money. This female line includes Grade 1 heroines My Trusty Cat and Include Betty.