Flying Circle turned the tables on Smitty’s Sunshine in the $250,000 Distaff Turf Sprint Championship at Calder Race Course Aug. 11, rallying from sixth in the stretch under jockey Manny Aguilar to win by three-quarters of a length over Unbridled Sidney.
Unbridled Sidney finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Smitty’s Sunshine, the 11-10 favorite, after defeating Flying Circle by a head in Calder's earlier Distaff Turf Sprint held on a sloppy main track July 7. Smitty's Sunshine, ridden by Eddie Castro, had a six-race winning streak snapped.
The second choice at 2-1, Unbridled Sidney broke sharply at Calder to immediately take the lead in the five-furlong turf dash for leading rider Elvis Trujillo. After setting smart fractions of :21 2/5 and :44 1/5, she came under pressure from Smitty’s Sunshine in the homestretch from the inside. But Flying Circle, who was bumped and squeezed at the start of the race, closed the fastest of all on the outside and got the money.
Walter (Buddy) New’s homebred 5-year-old mare Flying Circle covered the five furlongs over firm turf in :56.23 and paid $11.80, $5 and $2.60. Unbridled Sidney returned $3.80 and $2.80, while Smitty’s Sunshine paid $2.40 to show. Unbridled Sidney, who won the race last year, and Smitty’s Sunshine shipped into Calder for the Distaff Turf Sprint Championship from Kentucky and Louisiana, respectively.
Winless in seven prior starts this year -- with four seconds and a third -- Flying Circle improved her lifetime record to 6-5-4 in 21 starts. The winner's share of $147,250 increased her earnings to $391,889. The Kentucky chestnut mare is by Pembroke--Quest for Round (Apalachee).
"She was in-between horses at one point, and I was feeling good that she might finish third," winning Calder trainer David Fawkes said. "Then she got clear and just kept coming. She’s always hooked good horses and had some bad luck in some of her races that she might have won with a better trip. I think the course was just a little to the yielding side today, which I think might have helped her to get up in time.”
Whenthedoveflies, Stolen Prayer, Formal Miss, Shesgoldincolor, El Bank Robber, Twiceasbeautiful and Ruby's Grand Slam completed the order.