Forwardly placed throughout, Paul Saylor's 7-10 favorite Fleet Indian took full command at the top of the stretch before drawing away to a dominating 12 ½ length victory over Silver Highlight in Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Hawthorne Race Course.
The 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie
was ridden to victory by jockey Jose Santos. Her final time of 1:49.37 for the nine furlong distance was three full seconds faster than Three Hour Nap's winning time in the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) two races earlier. It was the second consecutive Sixty Sails score for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the race last year with Iso Piu Bella.
Fleet Indian took over the lead on the backstretch after Tappin for Gold led the first quarter in :24 and guided the eight-horse field through easy splits of :48 and 1:12 2/5. Santos roused the dark bay filly at the top of the stretch, and she left the field behind under a brisk hand ride.
The victory was Fleet Indian's ninth in 14 starts and pushed her earnings to $444,513. She won the one-mile Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct in her last start March 26.
Fleet Indian returned $3.40, $2.40, and $2.20. Silver Highlight paid $5.40 and $3.80, finishing three lengths ahead of Platinum Ballet, who was $2.60 to show.
"This filly is getting better and better," said Santos. "There is no strategy with this kind of horse. You just have to make sure you don't fall off. This filly was well clear of the rest and doing it in an easy way."
Saylor purchased Fleet Indian as a broodmare prospect at the Keeneland January sale, but the way she's running right now, it doesn't appear that she'll be headed to the shed any time soon.
"She had won her last two races before that (the purchase), and she's a New York-bred, so Todd and I had talked about a program of running her in New York stakes and eventually breeding her to a stallion I own an interest in," said Saylor. "But she showed in the two races that I've had her that she's better than I thought she was. Good horses, good trainers, and good riders make owners look smart."
Saylor formerly owned an interest in Eclipse Award-winning mare Ashado and campaigns current Triple Crown contender Keyed Entry within his Starlight Stables partnership.
Eyes On Eddy finished fourth, followed by For Gillian, Sunset Kisses, Tappin for Gold, and Culinary.