Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Augustin Stables' Forever Together came out of the Diana Handicap (gr. IT) in good shape after defeating Dynaforce by three-quarters of a length. It was the first graded-stakes turf win for the 4-year-old roan filly, who has dramatically improved since she switched surfaces.
"She seemed to do remarkably well," Sheppard said in a release from the New York Racing Association. "She didn't seem too distressed at all. It's amazing what she has done. She goes from finishing fourth in an allowance race at Gulfstream to winning a grade I race."
Sheppard is now trying to establish a schedule for Forever Together, who earned an automatic bid into the $2-million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 24 at Santa Anita. Two races under consideration are the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at 10 furlongs Sept. 27 at Belmont Park and the 1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT), also at a 1 ¼-mile, Oct. 4 at Woodbine.
"Regarding future plans, we haven't completely finalized anything," Sheppard said. "We are still trying to map out a campaign for her. We are looking at one or two races before the Breeders' Cup."
Last year, Forever Together won the Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) and finished second in the Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) on the dirt but could not sustain that form.
In her first start on grass, Forever Together won an overnight stakes race at Arlington Park, and in the Just A Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont rallied to a third-place finish behind Ventura and Lady of Venice.
"I thought it was time to try something different," Sheppard said. "She trained very well over the Keeneland Polytrack. Since Arlington was not that far away, we took a shot at the overnight stake. I knew it was a big jump for her in going into the Just a Game. Turning for home in that race, I knew we had something good. She ran very well."