Godolphin's homebred Dickinson notched her first graded score with a ground-saving trip, as she sneaked through on the rail to win the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3T) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park. Watch Video
In the 1 1/8-mile turf test for fillies and mares, the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro raced comfortably just off the pace in the nine-horse field, as longshot Cali Thirty Seven took control of the lead early. Goldy Espony, who was making her return to the track after a year off, and longshot Sharp Kitty dueled for second throughout the backstretch. The 3-2 favorite, Sandiva, in her last race before retiring to the breeding shed, raced mid-pack.
Cali Thirty Seven remained in the lead through a mile and clicked off fractions in :23.43, :47.27, 1:10.79, and 1:33.84. As the field made its way into the top of the stretch, Goldy Espony faded as Sandiva and Elysea's World charged forward. However, in a gutsy move, jockey Paco Lopez saw an opening on the rail and guided the mare inside. Dickinson accelerated on the rail and pulled clear to a 1 1/4-length victory for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The final time was 1:45.38.
Elysea's World held for second, with 2015 Suwannee River winner Sandiva a head back in third.
"They just told me to try the best you can," Lopez said. "You'll figure out when the gates open. My race was perfect. I was in perfect position and I wanted to wait because I saw (jockey Javier) Castellano moved a little early (on Sandiva). When I asked her to run, the rail opened and my filly went flying through there. I got lucky this time. Sometimes you have horse and nowhere to go but this time we got lucky."
Dickinson returned $11.40, $5.60, and $3.40 across the board. Elysea's World paid $5.20 and $3.40, while Sandiva returned $2.40.
“(Her last race) was a funny effort," McLaughlin said of the mare's fouth-place finish behind Sandiva in last month's Marshua's River Stakes (G3T). "Johnny Velazquez is not only a great Hall of Fame rider, he’s a friend. He just came back and said I couldn’t get her to go around the turn.
"Thinking back she hadn’t gone two turns before, so maybe that helped us today to end up in the winner’s circle, with this being the second time around two turns. But she is a super nice filly, with a super pedigree. A graded stakes win is very important for her. We’ll stay (on the turf). Maybe she will reward us this year.”
Bred in Kentucky, Dickinson is out of the grade 1 winning A. P. Indy mare Little Belle, who was also bred by Darley and raced in Godolphin blue. The 5-year-old mare has a 5-1-2 record from 11 starts with earnings of $275,036.