Treadway Racing Stable’s Maraud sacked longtime leader Speed Franco in Saturday’s $100,000 Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park, the Todd Pletcher sophomore displaying a smart change of gear after the pacesetter had things his own way.
Speed Franco, the 8-5 favorite off his victory in the February 3 Dania Beach (G3), carved out splits of :23.89, :48.56, and 1:12.60 on the firm turf. Maraud was well placed by Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez in a stalking second, but the 5-2 second choice still needed to cover the front runner’s move as the pace quickened for home. Speed Franco dished out a fourth quarter in :22.57 to reach the mile in 1:35.17, an injection of pace that was too much for all but Maraud. Attacking in deep stretch, Maraud overtook Speed Franco by a neck in a final time of 1:41.01 for 1 1/16 miles.
Note that Maraud carried the least weight in the field at 114 pounds. Speed Franco deserves great credit for nearly prevailing as the 120-pound highweight, six pounds more than the winner.
Also running well in defeat was Hawkish, the impressive debut winner who was bet down from his 8-1 morning line and went off as the 3-1 third choice. As many as five lengths off the tepid pace early, he made a wide move to threaten on the far turn. Those exertions – to cover extra yardage and gain on the leaders just as the tempo was ratcheted up – understandably took their toll, and Hawkish flattened out in the lane for fourth.
Therapist, who belied his name when having issues at the gate, benefited from his inside trip and came again to grab third from Hawkish by a half-length. Next came Neepawa, Renaisance Frolic, and Eye of a Jedi, the 46-1 longest shot on the board who stood still as the gate opened and trailed throughout.
Triple Crown-nominated Maraud has now compiled a mark of 5-3-0-2, $164,010, all on turf. A debut winner over Labor Day weekend at Saratoga, the Blame colt was a tough-trip third in the Pilgrim (G3) at Belmont before heading down to winter quarters in Florida. He was no match for Speed Franco when shortening up to a flat mile in the December 9 Pulpit, finishing a distant third, but rebounded in a January 13 allowance at this course and distance, and gained revenge here.
Bred by John R. Penn and Frank Penn in Kentucky, Maraud was sold for $100,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. Crupi’s New Castle Farm turned the pinhooking profit at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic May Sale, where the two-year-old in training brought $375,000.
Maraud is a three-quarter brother to Arklow (by Blame’s sire Arch), hero of last year’s American Turf (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day. Their dam, the Empire Maker mare Unbridled Empire, is a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Fourty Niners Son and Cindy’s Hero, herself the dam of multiple Canadian Grade 3 scorer (and 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile [G1] third) Delegation.
Further back, Maraud descends from the maternal line responsible for Hall of Famers Silverbulletday and Arts and Letters.
In the companion race for fillies, the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (G3), 3-2 favorite Thewayiam had no difficulty extending her winning streak to three. Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Jose Ortiz, the French import never had to leave the rail as she burst through to a 1 3/4-length decision.
Amertume, trying to turn the sophomore turf stakes double for Pletcher and Velazquez, fought hard to nip Brattata in the photo for runner-up. Second for most of the way, Amertume appeared one-paced while Thewayiam exploded on the fence and Brattata picked up on the outside. Yet she stuck on determinedly like one who may prefer a longer distance, befitting a Wertheimer et Frere homebred by Tapit.
Fourth-placer Princess Warrior rallied from last to mug pacesetter My Favorite Gift, who had the run of the race through fractions of :23.77, :48.33, 1:12.34, and 1:35.61 but weakened late in fifth.
Thewayiam, making light of her top weight of 120 pounds, negotiated 1 1/16 grassy miles in 1:41.41.
Now four-for-five since coming to the United States, Thewayiam completed a Gulfstream hat trick after taking the January 6 Ginger Brew and February 3 Sweetest Chant (G3). Her lone loss for current owners Great Point Stables, Dubb, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables was an 11th in last November’s Jimmy Durante (G3) at Del Mar. During her French career for trainer Yan Durepaire, she was third in the Prix Roland de Chambure off her maiden win at La Teste de Buch. The daughter of Thewayyouare has earned $231,566 from her 8-5-0-1 line.
Thewayiam was bred by SCA La Perrigne and purchased by Durepaire for €17,000 as an Arqana October yearling. She was produced by the Dansili mare Water Feature, making her a half-sister to stakes victress Lady Heidi, and more pedigree details can be found in the Sweetest Chant recap.