After finishing second to Groupie Doll in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) in November, Dust and Diamonds looms as a prohibitive favorite in the $100,000 Adena Springs Sugar Swirl (gr. III) Dec. 8 at Gulfstream Park.
Odds-on favorite Groupie Doll defeated the 4-year-old daughter of Vindication by four lengths in what may have been the most dominant of the 2012 Breeders' Cup performances. However, Dust and Diamonds finished nearly four lengths clear of the third horse, grade I winner Switch.
Formerly trained by Steve Asmussen for Padua Stable and Richard Santulli, Dust and Diamonds will make her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher in Saturday's six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. TNT Stud purchased Padua's homebred for $900,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale.
"We got her right after she was sold at the November sale and she came in and has trained well," Pletcher said. "She's settled in nicely and has trained forwardly."
Prior to her gutsy performance against Groupie Doll, who came back to lose a photo finish to Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct, Dust and Diamonds had won three straight races, including the Gallant Bloom (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
"She's very professional, straightforward, all business kind of filly," Pletcher said.
Peachtree Stable's grade III winner Sacristy comes into the race off a second-place finish in the Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) on Polytrack at Keeneland Oct. 20. The 3-year-old daughter of Pulpit was making her first start against older in the Raven Run for trainer Wayne Catalano.
Catalano also entered Peachtree's 4-year-old multiple graded stakes placed Honey Chile, coming off a seventh in the Ontario Fashion Stakes (gr. III) Nov. 4 at Woodbine.
The speedster Spectacular Sky, trained by Marty Wolfson for Farnsworth Stables, had a three-race win streak ended with a sixth-place finish in the one-mile Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old Sky Mesa filly has won four of 10 starts in 2012.
$100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, approximate post 4:35 p.m. EST), F&M, 3yo&up, 6 furlongs
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Nakano (KY), J. Castellano, 117, M. Wolfson
2. Sacristy (KY), J. Lezcano, 118, W. Catalano
3. Spectacular Sky (KY), E. Trujillo, 117, M. Wolfson
4. Hearts of Red (KY), R. Albarado, 117, R. Nicks
5. Honey Chile (FL), J. Sanchez, 117, W. Catalano
6. Dust and Diamonds (KY), J. Velazquez, 123, T. Pletcher
7. Golden Mystery (FL), L. Saez, 117, M. Wolfson