Pays to Dream continued a big weekend for New York-bred horses in Maryland May 17 when he rallied from well off the pace and blew away the competition in the grade II Dixie Stakes (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds and up on the turf at Pimlico Race Course.
Owned and bred by December Hill Farm and trained by David Donk, Pays to Dream was last early in a bunched-up field of nine in the 1 1/8-mile Dixie, run on a course rated good after heavy rain the previous day. The 4-year-old gelding by High Yield out of the Time for a Change mare Changing Ways remained last on the final turn, rallied along the inside when a hole opened, swept three-wide at the top of the lane and gobbled up the leaders.
With Javier Castellano aboard, Pays to Dream opened up daylight on the field and won by 7 1/2 lengths. Stay Close, who attended the pace throughout, held well for second, a head in front of Ra Der Dean in third and Distorted Reality in fourth. Heavily favored Shakis bid on the far turn but failed to fire in the lane and checked in fifth.
Fractions for the $250,000 Dixie were :26.36 for the first quarter-mile, :51.71 for a half-mile, 1:16.24 for six furlongs, and 1:42.90 for a mile. The final time was 1:54.74, more than eight seconds off the course record.
"It was a soft course, and I wasn't sure if he'd handle it or not," Donk said. "Horses with that style usually don't do that well when the turf is soft, but I was impressed. That was wonderful."
"I had a beautiful trip today--a dream trip," Castellano said. "I took my time. The (turf) is a little soft today. I saved ground all the way around."
Pays to Dream, who finished last in his 2008 debut April 27 on the grass at Aqueduct, returned $40.40 to win. It was his fifth victory, three of which came in New York-bred maiden and allowance company and the other in a restricted stakes at Saratoga.
On May 16, New York-bred Sweet Vendetta won the grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico.(Chart, Equibase)