Bsharpsonata Ekes Out Forward Gal
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Bsarpsonata (inside) outduels Keep the Peace to take the Forward Gal.
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Bsharpsonata survived a heart-pounding stretch duel with Keep the Peace, taking the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) by a nose Feb. 9 on the slop at Gulfstream Park to earn her first graded stakes score.

The nail-biting win capped the third consecutive victory for the 3-year-old Pulpitfilly, and in the process denied Edgar Prado, who was aboard Keep the Peace, his 6,000th career victory. Bsharpsonata was ridden exceptionally by Eric Camacho.

The final time for seven furlongs was 1:23.09. Melissa Jo was 3 ¼ lengths back in third.

Bsharpsonata, a Florida homebred of Cloverleaf Farm II, entered off consecutive stakes wins on the turf. The most recent was a 1 ½-length score in the Jan. 1 Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Race Course. In all, the bay filly had won three of her last four starts coming in.

In the Forward Gal, Bsharpsonata started slowly, settling into sixth in the seven-horse field. As expected, Prado guided Keep the Peace from the rail to the early lead. Melissa Jo was pressing the pace, with Cape Cod Lady and Sensational Love in the next grouping. The first quarter went in :21.80.

Keep the Peace, who was undefeated in two starts coming in and making her first stakes appearance, continued to lead after a half-mile that went in :44.25. By that time, Camacho was moving Bsharpsonata into contention on the inside, eventually drawing even with pace-stalking Melissa Jo coming out of the turn.

As they began to straighten away, Bsharpsonata, running tightly to the rail, caught Keep the Peace and for the length of the stretch the two rivals matched stride-for-stride. Neither one gave an inch until Bsharpsonata stuck a nose in front in the final strides.

“That was a hell of a stretch run,” Camacho said. “I didn’t want to get stuck on the rail because it’s been dead all day, but I played the cards I was dealt. Edgar put pressure on me when he saw me on the rail. My filly was game until the end. I put my stick away, and she gave me all she had. I knew I had it at the wire. Edgar congratulated me. He’s a real class act.

“This is my fifth start on her. She’s versatile. She can run on anything – turf, dirt, mud, pavement; whatever they throw at her, she can handle. Not many horses can do that. She’s very special.”

Prado said: “I was hoping she got her head down, but I thought she ran a winning race. She was in front the whole way and challenged the whole way. You want to do it (hit the 6,000 career victories plateau) like this and get it out of the way. You don’t want to wait, but what can you do?”   

Bsharpsonata has now won five of eight lifetime starts for trainer Tim Salzman. She has earned more than $280,000.

“We were worried before the race that there wouldn’t be any other speed to go with (Keep the Peace), but fortunately there was enough,” Salzman said. “She’s amazing. She’s handled everything we’ve asked…short, long, turf, dirt, and now slop. We were more or less forced into this spot with no races for 3-year-old fillies here on turf, but we did want to try her back on the dirt at some point and this leaves us a lot more options.

“With a 3-year-old at this time of year, you have to think about the (Kentucky Oaks). Now we just have to look at how to get there. Certainly, the Bonnie Miss here (Mar. 29) will be a race we’ll consider.”

Bsharpsonata, out of the Affirmed mare Apasionata Sonata, went off as the 5-1 third choice and paid $12.40 to win. The $2 exacta (3-1) with even-money Keep the Peace returned $37.60. The $2 trifecta (3-1-5) was worth $93.

Morakami was fourth, followed by Cozy Mesa, Sensational Love, and Cape Cod Lady.

(Chart, Equibase)

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