The Bill Mott-trained Sharp Susan made it back-to-back victories on the Gulfstream grass in the past five weeks following a four-month layoff. The Touch Gold filly was victorious in her graded stakes debut.
With Cornelio Velasquez aboard, Sharp Susan took command soon after the start while racing a bit off the rail. She set soft fractions of :24 2/5, :49 2/5 and 1:13 3/5 while opening up a two-length lead on the backstretch. Perfect Motion, ridden by Kent Desormeaux moved to put pressure on the leader on the final turn but Sharp Susan kicked loose again to take a dominating lead in upper stretch. She maintained her edge under urging from Velasquez while completing the 1 1/8-mile test in 1:47 4/5 on firm going.
"It didn’t look like there was much speed in the race today and she got the lead pretty easy," Mott noted, adding that he would look at the Edgewood Stakes on May 4 at Churchill Downs next for Sharp Susan.
"It looks like she’s going to be a nice filly, and it might be ambitious to think about it just yet, but you might look ahead and hope she can make it to a race like the American Oaks (gr. IT) if she shows she can get the distance,” Mott said.
Communique rallied from last in the stretch under Javier Castellano to gain second by a neck over Perfect Motion.
The dark bay Kentucky-bred filly Sharp Susan won for the third time in seven starts while nearly doubling her career earnings to $123,883. Sharp Susan broke her maiden in her fourth start -- her first on the turf -- at Belmont Park Sept. 29. In her next start, the Miss Grillo, disaster struck when her rein broke on jockey Mike Smith soon after the start. She ran off to a 15-length led in the first half-mile but stopped badly, finishing 10th, nearly 38 lengths behind. Mott sent her to the sidelines after that.
Sharp Susan, a half-sister to grade I winner Sharp Lisa, paid $5.80, $3.60 and $2.60 as the 19-10 choice. Communique, who ran third in the 1 1/16-mile Gaily Gaily on the turf at Gulfstream last out Feb. 25, returned $4.80 and $3.20. Perfect Motion, who ended a streak of three consecutive runner-up finishes for trainer Ken McPeek, was $3 to show. Perfect Motion has not been out of the money in six lifetime starts but hasn't won since breaking her maiden in her debut last October at Keeneland.
It was a half-length to My Golden Quest in fourth, followed by Snow Cone, Dantrelle Light, Naseem and Nalanda.