Ultra Brat earned her first graded stakes win in style when she gained the lead at the quarter pole and put away a bid from favored Dream Dancing to take the Marshua's River Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park.
The Alex G. Campbell Jr. homebred entered the 1 1/16-mile Marshua's River off a fourth-place finish in the six-furlong Autumn Days Stakes in November over the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack, her only start of 2017.
"I don't think we had a specific issue. She just had like nagging problems and we gave her a break, and it just took her a little longer to get back to the races than I thought. It looks like it worked out pretty well," winning trainer Graham Motion said.
"The one thing (jockey) Nik (Juarez) said was that he just wanted her relaxed because she was pretty keen last time sprinting. But it set up well today. She likes this track. It obviously suits her.
"I think this is probably her optimum (distance)—a mile, mile and a sixteenth. I don't know that she wants to go much further than that. This was a good spot for her."
Campbell said he intends to continue racing the 5-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo .
"I was thrilled with the race," the owner said. "The jockey rode a great race. She's coming on late but we're hoping she's going to be a good filly. We'll race her the whole year."
Facing a field of five other older fillies and mares, Ultra Brat settled just behind leader Gianna's Dream in the early stages as Dream Dancing raced in fourth. Gianna's Dream set fractions of :26.37, :51.42, and 1:15.63 through six furlongs.
Around the second turn, Ultra Brat moved up to the outside of a fading Gianna's Dream and secured an advantage heading into the stretch. Grade 1 winner Dream Dancing, who inched closer to the leaders up the backside under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., came wide into the stretch and made a run at Ultra Brat but didn't have enough to catch the leader who powered away under urging. Ultra Brat crossed the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front in a final time of 1:45.35 over the turf labeled good.
"That was a perfect trip," Juarez said. "We got Ultra Brat to relax outside Gianna's Dream. On the backside, I knew I had a ton of horse. We had her relaxed sitting off Gianna's Dream and when I asked her to run, she was much the best."
The winner returned $10.80, $4.60, and $3.40 across the board.
Bred in Kentucky, out of the winning Storm Cat mare Prof. McGonagall, Ultra Brat is a half sister to the grade 3-winning Dynaformer mare It's Tea Time.
With her win Saturday, Ultra Brat now has a record of five wins and one second from 11 starts and earnings of $272,733. She has two other black-type wins, the 2016 Christiecat Stakes at Belmont Park and the 2016 Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream.