With jockey Elvis Trujillo aboard, Forever Together stalked pacesetter Changeisgonnacome down the backstretch before taking command at the top of the stretch. She crossed the finish line in 1:22 3/5 over the fast track. Jayeff B Stable’s You Asked finished third, 3 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up in the strung out field of seven 3-year-old fillies.
Forever Together is a roan/gray daughter of Belong to Me--Constant Companion (Relaunch) bred in Kentucky by White Fox Farm and purchased for $240,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sales. In two previous starts before the Forward Gal, she broke her maiden at Delaware Park in early November and was a 2 1/2-length winner of an OBS Sprint in Ocala last out on Feb. 12 when teamed with Trujillo for the first time. She bumped her earnings to $144,000.
"My horse had a lot of speed and finished strong,” Trujillo said.
"Mr. (George) Strawbridge has a substantial broodmare band, but the pedigrees tend to produce a lot of distance horse on grass," noted winning trainer Jonathan Sheppard. "So they like to diversify with some (auction) purchases. She ran well to break her maiden at Delaware, and she was eligible for the OBS race, which is a restricted race and essentially amounts to a non-winners of two. That was a step up and today was another big step. So far, so good. I can’t say what might be next, but Mr. Strawbridge is partial to Keeneland."
Changeisgonnacome set fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 1/5 before tiring in the stretch under Cornelio Velasquez. Forever Together stumbled early before staking a position three wide. After getting the lead, she drifted out a bit late. Silver Knockers, trapped on the inside behind the pacesetter at the quarter pole, was second best after getting clear in the stretch. You Asked closed mildly to snatch third by a nose from Awsugahnow. Changeisgonnacome, Boca Grande, and Bold Assurance followed.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Forever Together paid $12.20, $4.80, and $3.60. Silver Knockers, favored off a four-length allowance win Feb. 8, returned $4 and $2.60. You Asked, second to Dream Rush in the Old Hat (gr. III) last time, was $2.60 to show.