July 24, 2024

Tide of the Sea wires McKnight; Always Shopping, Zofelle romp in Gulfstream turf stakes

Tide of the Sea
Tide of the Sea wins the W. L. McKnight Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Lauren King)

Always Shopping, Tide of the Sea, and Zofelle captured graded turf stakes on Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup undercard at Gulfstream Park.

$150,000 W.L. McKnight S. (G3)

Tide of the Sea earned his first stakes triumph by leading wire-to-wire in the 1 1/2-mile McKnight, turning back a bid from stablemate Temple to win by three-quarters of a length.

Tyler Gaffalione delivered the heady ride for Three Diamonds Farm and Mike Maker, dictating tempo on moderate fractions (:24, :48.68, and 1:12.57), and Tide of the Sea stopped the teletimer in 2:24.57 on the firm course.

The improving 5-year-old horse, who was exiting a troubled sixth in his first stakes attempt, the Dec. 12 Ft. Lauderdale (G2), left the starting gate as the 4-1 second choice among 11 runners.

Temple, who was off at 7-1, launched a menacing bid into the stretch, but had to settle for second at 7-1. It was a half-length back to 8-5 Doswell, and 9-2 Sadler’s Joy rallied belatedly to be fourth in his 8-year-old bow.

Channel Cat, Sir Anthony, Succeedandsurpass, Clear Vision, Mirinaque, Sir Sahib, and Tintoretto rounded out the finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte Farms, Tide of the Sea won once from four starts before being sold for $80,000 as a 3-year-old at the 2019 Keeneland November sale.

The lightly-raced son of English Channel returned from a 10-month layoff last summer. After earning his second career win in an entry-level allowance at Kentucky Downs in mid-September, he followed with a convincing allowance tally at Keeneland a month later.

Tide of the Sea is out of the Empire Maker mare Routine, who is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Tates Creek. Regally-bred Tide of the Sea improved his record 10-4-3-1.

$125,000 La Prevoyante S. (G3)

Always Shopping blew the doors off the competition when given her cue in the La Prevoyante, posting an easy three-length victory. Irad Ortiz Jr. had the mount for Todd Pletcher, and Always Shopping finished 1 1/2 miles in 2:25.38 as the even-money favorite.

A multiple stakes winner on dirt, including the 2019 Gazelle (G2), the Repole homebred daughter of Awesome Again switched to turf last summer at Gulfstream.

Always Shopping earned her first turf stakes win in the Monroe S. in early September. After a head second in the Dowager (G3) at Keeneland, she tuned up for Saturday with a three-length score in the Dec. 19 Via Borghese S. at Gulfstream.

The five-time stakes heroine has now earned $475,105 from a 14-5-3-1 career line.

Always Shopping settled just off the pace in third in the La Prevoyante, and she made her move to the lead nearing the completion of the far turn, quickly opening a commanding lead. Delta’s Kingdom rallied for second at 8-1, 1 1/4 lengths better than 50-1 Irony of Reality.

Sister Hanan, Heavenly Curlin, Court Return, Cambeliza, Lovely Lucky, English Affair, Cap de Creus, Traipsing, and Aunt Hattie completed the order.

Kentucky-bred Always Shopping is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Stopshoppingmaria.

$125,000 Marshua’s River S. (G3)

Unraced since June, Zofelle returned with a sharp score in the Marshua’s River. Gaffalione was up for Helder Family Stables and Brendan Walsh, and the 5-year-old mare notched her first graded win when completing a mile in 1:32.42.

By Zoffany, Zofelle rated about five lengths in seventh behind spirited opening fractions (:23.19 and :46.12). She was angled for clear sailing leaving the far turn, and the 28-10 favorite kicked for home powerfully, overhauling Sweet Bye and Bye and drawing clear to a two-length decision.

Sweet Bye and Bye, who struck the front in upper stretch after closely tracking the front-runners, held second by nearly a length as the 39-10 second choice. Belle Laura came next in third, and she was followed by Tuned, Vigilantes Way, Evil Lyn, Niko’s Dream, Great Sister Diane, Our Bay B Ruth, and Lovely La La.

Bred in Ireland by Fullbury and Minch Bloodstock, Zofelle is out of the Galileo mare Height of Elegance, who is closely related to Irish highweights Henrythenavigator and Listen.

Zofelle was initially campaigned in England. She was shipped stateside after being purchased for $35,400 during the summer of her 3-year-old season, and the bay won her first three outings at Fair Grounds last winter, including her initial stakes tally in the Pago Hop.

She recorded a neck third in the Mint Julep S. (G3) at Churchill Downs in late May, but Zofelle headed to the sidelines after an unplaced effort in the Just a Game S. (G1) at Belmont Park four weeks later.

Her future looks promising following the Marshua’s River.