Terra Di Sienna Stables' Pica Slew caught pacesetter Rapport at the eighth-pole and cruised to a two-length win in the $150,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) July 10 at Calder Casino & Race Course.
The 3-year-old daughter of Brazilian-bred Pico Central remained undefeated in three starts this season—all at Calder—and scored her first graded stakes. Manoel Cruz guided the bay filly to victory for trainer Joe Calascibetta. The final time for six furlongs over the fast dirt was 1:11.12.
Cruz allowed Pica Slew to settle a distant second in the early going as Rapport shot to the front and opened up a big lead. With Robby Albarado aboard, Rapport fired off splits of :21.31 and :44.79, opening up a 3 1/2-length advantage on Pica slew after a half-mile.
But the leader showed signs of tiring when coming off the turn and by the time they reached the eighth-pole Pica Slew had caught her. Pica Slew sprinted right by Rapport in upper stretch and cruised to the wire unchallenged. Buckleupbuttercup closed strongly to get second with Julien Leparoux aboard, 3 3/4 lengths in front of Bronx City Girl, who caught Rapport by a nose.
Pica Slew broke her maiden by nearly 11 lengths in May during her 3-year-old debut, then went wire-to-wire in the listed Leave Me Alone Stakes on June 12. Overall, she improved to 3-0-0 from four starts and increased her earnings to $160,487.
“Her last race was so easy she didn’t have to do too much," Calascibetta said. "Today, she showed another dimension—came from off the pace and learned to pass a horse.
“I’ll discuss it (next start) with the owner (Tom Drier, co-owner of Terra Di Sienna). The Test is a possibility but the instruction from the owners is to take one race at a time, so that’s what we’ll do.”
The winner was bred in Florida by her owner and is out of the Seattle Slew mare Maggie O’Slew. She paid $6, $3, and $2.80 as the favorite. The exacta (8-5) returned $18.20 and the trifecta (8-5-6) was $49.