Winning keeps getting easier for Bonnie and Sy Baskin's Ocean Drive. The 2-year-old filly won the Oct. 24 Green River Stakes on grass at Keeneland by 4 3/4 lengths over seven foes for her third straight win and her second against added-money company. Her first win came by 1 1/2 lengths, and her second, in the Salem County Stakes at Meadowlands, by 3 3/4.
Ocean Drive was made the even-money choice even though Moonlight Sonata was coming off a win in the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. III).
Ridden by John Velasquez, Ocean Drive raced close to the pace set by Sand Springs before taking command in the stretch and winning over that rival in 1:44.30 for the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf. Moonlight Sonata, seventh in the early going, got up for third at 9-1 odds.
"Before she ever ran, we were working her on the dirt and she worked terribly," explained Velazquez. "I worked her on the turf one day and she worked great. We've kept her on the grass and it has worked out perfectly.
"When you ride horses like her, all you need to do is point them in the right direction."
Sand Springs, ridden by Pat Day, held on for second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Moonlight Sonata.
"(Trainer) Tony (Reinstedler) told me to cover her up early, but she broke sharply and I had no chance to get her back," said Day. "She was game in the drive but she couldn't outfoot the winner."
Bred in Kentucky by James Conway in partnership with Thomas C. Mueller and trained by Todd Pletcher, Ocean Drive is the third stakes winner from her dam, Clever But Costly (by Clever Trick). A daughter of Belong to Me, Ocean Drive is a half-sister to grade I winner Traitor and to stakes winner Beavers Nose. Ocean Drive's win was worth $69,130 and bumped her earnings to $126,730.
The winner paid $4, $2.60 and $2.40 as the even-money favorite. Sand Springs returned $3 and $2.80 and Moonlight Sonata, ridden by Mark Guidry, paid $3.80.