You don’t often hear a trainer regret running a horse in a race they’ve just won, but one can forgive Christophe Clement’s second guessing after Amazing Grace‘s performance on Saturday in the $150,000 Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Making her first U.S. appearance in the Orchid, the Group 2-winning German-bred rallied from the back under Joel Rosario to win by a half-length over second choice Personal Best. Another newcomer from Germany in the Clement barn, Atomic Blonde, finished 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.
Amazing Grace’s final time of 2:28.82 for 1 1/2 miles over a firm turf was faster than the 2:29.22 posted by ex-claimer Therapist when capturing the $200,000 Pan American (G2) earlier in the card.
“I should have split the two horses, run Amazing Grace against the colts in the Pan Am and run Atomic Blonde in the Orchid, which I didn’t,” said Clement, who was winning the Orchid for the eighth time. “I thought about it, but I did not do it. It probably was a mistake looking back on it, but it happens and we live and learn.”
Amazing Grace certainly would have fit in the Pan American, having been Group 1-placed twice against males last season, including a third to eventual Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Rebel’s Romance in the Preis von Europa (G1) at Cologne in her most recent start in September. Those form lines convinced bettors to make Amazing Grace the 6-5 favorite against seven Orchid rivals, and she returned $4.40 to win.
“She adapted right away, she’s been training well,” said Clement, who noted Amazing Grace was purchased by Moyglare Stud at a sale in France in December.
Amazing Grace is a five-year-old daughter of Protectionist and was produced by the stakes-winning Danehill Dancer mare Amabelle.
Clement figures to have a lot fun with another turf filly, Breath Away, who exploded between rivals in the stretch to win the $104,500 Sanibel Island S. for three-year-old fillies by 2 1/2 lengths.
The second choice in a field of nine, Breath Away covered 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:29.90 and paid $7.20.
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco, and Tango Uniform Racing, Breath Away has now won two of three starts. She is by Bated Breath and out of Grade 3 winner Simply Breathless.
Steady On avenged a loss on turf to Churchtown in November with a half-length tally in the $150,000 Appleton S.
Second to Churchtown in the Gio Ponti S. at Aqueduct, Steady On suffered two additional narrow losses in the Tropical Park Derby and Canadian Turf (G3). He was on the right side of the photo Saturday in earning his first stakes win for Mike Repole and St. Elias Stable, trainer Todd Pletcher, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who teamed up to win the Florida Derby (G1) with Forte in the next race.
Steady On paid $5.80 after covering one mile on the turf in 1:34.49.
The aforementioned Pan American provided the eight-year-old Therapist with his ninth career stakes win, but first since 2020. Claimed in January for $50,000 by Michael Dubb and trainer Mike Maker, Therapist rallied late up the inside to deny stablemate Bay Street Money by three parts of a length under Irad Ortiz Jr. Master Piece, the 11-10 favorite, finished third.
A New York-bred gelding by Freud, Therapist returned $11 as the second choice in a field of eight.
There were better pari-mutuel fireworks following the $180,000 Ghostzapper (G3), when Clapton edged O’Connor by a half-length for a 21-1 upset. Surly Furious finished a distant third, while 6-5 favorite Simplification was fifth and Pimlico Special (G3) winner First Captain last of seven.
A homebred racing for Arindel, Clapton covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.94 and paid $44.40. The Florida-bred is trained by Juan Alvarado and was ridden by Emisael Jaramillo.
The Ghostzapper was the second stakes win for Clapton, a four-year-old colt by Brethren. Clapton had previously taken the restricted Gil Campbell Memorial at Gulfstream last October.
Weyburn defended his title in the $105,000 Sir Shackleton S., defeating a stubborn Dean Delivers by a neck, with Steal Sunshine another neck behind in third.
The 2-1 favorite in a field of nine, the five-year-old Weyburn covered seven furlongs in 1:22.15 under Jose Ortiz and paid $6.40. The Grade 3 veteran is a homebred racing for Chiefswood Stables and is trained by Jimmy Jerkens.
Marketsegmentation just got the better of Princess Theorem, winning the $150,000 Sand Springs S. for fillies and mares by a neck under Irad Ortiz Jr.
The 7-10 favorite following a stakes-debut third in the Feb. 4 Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, Marketsegmentation paid $3.40 after covering 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:43.13.
A four-year-old by American Pharoah, Marketsegmentation has now won three of five starts for Klaravich Stables and trainer Chad Brown.
The stakes action on Florida Derby Day kicked off with Behind Enemy Lines taking his U.S. debut by two lengths in the $145,000 Cutler Bay S. for three-year-olds
Last seen taking a maiden on the all-weather at Dundalk in Ireland on Jan. 4, the Sioux Nation colt improved his record to 2-for-3, covering 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf in 1:30.35. He returned $8.40 as the second choice.
Behind Enemy Lines is owned in partnership by Rockingham Ranch, Talla Racing, and David Bernsen. He’s trained by Jack Sisterson.