Making her graded stakes debut against more accomplished rivals, Caminadora earned her first victory of the season while giving trainer Todd Pletcher consecutive stakes wins on the Churchill program. One race prior, Pletcher sent out favorite Colizeo to win the Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III).
Jockey Corey Nakatani guided Caminadora to victory, her first since breaking her maiden last October at Belmont. The chestnut daughter of More Than Ready is owned by Starlight Partners. Bred in Kentucky by Stoneway Farm, she is out of the Storm Boot mare Stoneway.
Caminadora was last of 12 through a half-mile in the nine-furlong event and next-to-last through six furlongs while Go Ask Alex lead the way. The pacesetter sailed through opening splits of :24.01, :48.31, and 1:13.43 under jockey Jon Court before Dynazaper took over approaching the quarter-pole.
Dynazaper had a short advantage at the eighth-pole, but a wall of horses was just behind her and ready to pounce. Caminadora was the one with most momentum and she flew by the leader in upper stretch. She held off Snow Top Mountain by a three-quarters of a length while crossing the wire in 1:52.04 on a turf course labeled good.
“Overall, we had a great trip," Nakatani said. "Todd said ‘Let’s try to save as much ground as we can and try to make one run. She’s not as good as the others on numbers but she’s been doing good.’ I got pinched back a little at the start, but we weren’t too worried about that because we wanted to lay back and get her nice and relaxed and make one run – the winning one – and she did.”
Caminadora, who was third to Snow Top Mountain May 13 in an allowance race at Churchill, improved to 2-1-3 from nine starts. She has now earned $144,878.
The upset winner paid a hefty $66.80, $25.20, and $16.20. The exacta (3-12) with 16-1 Snow Top Mountain returned $1,011.20 and the trifecta (3-12-9) with 32-1 Queen Hazel was a generous $20,220.80.
It's Tea Time, the 2-1 favorite, was fourth.
Two races earlier in the $112,300 Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-old males on the grass, Gleam of Hope came from off the pace to capture his first graded stakes win at odds of 9-1.
The son of City Zip—Victorious Vice, by Vice Regent, charged through the stretch on the outside, caught Asphalt nearing the sixteenth-pole, and held off 25-1 Psychic Income by a half-length under jockey E. T. Baird. Anthony Reinstedler trains the chestnut colt for owner-breeder A. C. Asbury.
Gleam of Hope, who was adding blinkers for the first time, had been winless in four starts this season, most recently finishing third in the May 22 Arlington Classic. In his lone dirt start in 2010, he was fourth but beaten only a length in the March 13 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Gleam of Hope won the Budweiser Select Cradle Stakes at River Downs as a juvenile.
Gleam of Hope ran the 1 1/16 miles on the good turf course in 1:45.61.
“Before the blinkers he was so far out of his races and he had way more to do,” Reinstedler said. “He’s always been a solid horse and he’s shown that. If you look at the past performances he has run against the best and he’s better on the grass than the dirt. I’m real proud of him. He’s responded to what we wanted to do with a turf schedule for this year, and so far it’s working out for us. The Mid-America Triple at Arlington Park will probably be next for him.”
The winner improved to 4-1-1 from 11 starts and has now earned $258,219.
Psychic Income, ridden by Corey Lanerie for trainer Ken McPeek, was three-quarters of a length in front of third-place Asphalt.
Gleam of Hope returned $20, $9.60 and $5.80. Psychic Income paid $20.20 and $9.40 with favored Asphalt paying $3.60 to show.