The Wesley Ward-trained Chardy Party scored an eye-catching Keeneland debut victory in the manner of a potentially smart filly. Saturday’s $100,000 Soaring Softly (G3) gave her the chance to prove it in a hurry, and the Stonestreet Stables colorbearer handled the class hike at Belmont Park.
Although 5-2 morning-line favorite Haughty was scratched, after cross-entering to next Friday’s $400,000 Penn Oaks, the Soaring Softly still featured several talented sophomores. Derrynane took over 1.25-1 favoritism as she stretched out to seven furlongs, but the Christophe Clement pupil didn’t get a favorable trip. Instead of employing her usual one-run tactics, Derrynane found herself chasing the pace and ultimately faded to fifth. Clement’s other runner, the 10.50-1 Breeze Easy, fared better in second despite not having the smoothest passage in her stateside premiere.
Chardy Party, the 2.25-1 second choice, secured better position than she had in her deep-closing debut over 5 1/2 furlongs. With Irad Ortiz Jr. back aboard, the daughter of Dark Angel broke much more alertly, then settled about midpack on the outside.
Longshot Champagne Poetry bounded to the lead through fractions of :22.88 and :46.38, but retreated turning for home. The stalking Sail By had just struck the front when she was in turn accosted by Chardy Party. Breeze Easy was trying to improve between them, only there was no seam, and she had to switch out to offer her challenge.
Chardy Party collared Sail By, then kept on to hold Breeze Easy by a neck in 1:21.19 on the firm Widener course. Sail By was another neck astern in third on the inside, a half-length to the good of Wonka churning out wide in fourth. Next came Derrynane, whose true distance capacity might not have been established here; Ouraika; Lost My Sock; Snow Loves a Fight; and Champagne Poetry.
Clement scratched his third entrant, Anador. Also withdrawn, aside from the aforementioned Haughty, were Wish You Well and the main-track-only Baby Man.
Ward believes that Chardy Party was losing focus once she had Sail By under control.
“We worked her two works ago and had her in front of Duke of Hazzard who ran second in the Seek Again the other day. She kind of floundered when she was in front,” her trainer said. “In last week’s work, we put her behind and she worked really well. When she made the lead today, she was gawking around a little bit. I think she’s one of those that wants to come from behind.”
Ortiz recapped his trip:
“She broke much better. Last time she missed the break and still came home like that the last 100 yards. Today, she was outside – last time she was in the one hole and today she was (on the outside). She did break good and put me in a great position. I was able to take care of it. I didn’t have to send her just to take the hole. After that, I bided my time and asked her to run. I knew she was going to be there for me, so I waited as long as I could. Turning for home, I saw the other horse to the inside and said, ‘I’ve got to go.’
“She ran very straightforward today and she looks like she’s improving a little. Her mind is getting better. Last time, she was changing leads in and out and today she was very straightforward. It looks like she’s getting there.”
Now 2-for-2, Chardy Party has bankrolled $88,945. The gray is the latest Irish-bred yearling purchase to develop into a high-caliber performer for connections, following the likes of Royal Ascot celebrity Campanelle, Ruthin, and Breeders’ Cup heroine Twilight Gleaming. All were sourced by Ben McElroy on Stonestreet’s behalf, and the bloodstock agent will also be involved in the discussions about future targets for Chardy Party.
“It looks to me like she has a big, long stride and she’s progressing really nicely,” Ward said. “She went 5 1/2 at Keeneland and made one big run. She ran really well today. Certainly, a mile looks like something she would be able to handle. We’ll sit down with the Stonestreet crew and Ben McElroy and come up with a plan for her.”
Bred by Yeomanstown Stud in the Emerald Isle, Chardy Party sold for $149,434 at Tattersalls October. She is the first foal from the stakes-winning Pastoral Pursuits mare Spiritual Lady, a descendant of Italian champion Grease who placed in such major races as the 1982 Coronation (G2) and Prix Vermeille (G1).