Showing an extra gear late, Martini Glass managed to catch multiple graded stakes winner Lewis Bay and run by the even-money favorite with ease in the Gulfstream Park stretch to win the $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes (G3) Feb. 19.
The score was the first graded victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Kitalpha, who is owned by Vince Campanella and Nation's Racing Stable. It was also the first graded win for trainer Keith Nations.
"We've knocked on the door. To be where we are right now is amazing. We were just thrilled to death to run second to Songbird (in the grade 1 Delaware Handicap). That just made our whole year. That was enough there. She's just moved forward and is getting better," Nations said.
"We'd seen her train and liked the look of here. Someone else was in on her too, so we actually won the shake to get her. We do pretty well with the claims, but his time we overachieved," the trainer added of the mare who was claimed by her current connections for $16,000 in her first start in February of 2016.
With Lewis Bay, Giulia, and Curlin's Approval vying for the early lead, Martini Glass raced in fourth and then fifth, through half-mile fractions in :24.01 and :46.48, before making a move. With Paco Lopez up, Martini Glass inched closer to leader Lewis Bay heading out of the turn, pulled alongside that rival in the stretch, and then drove clear to win by one length. The final time was 1:36.48 over the fast track.
The winner returned $18.40, $6, and $4 across the board.
While Monday's race was her first graded score, the 5-year-old mare started off 2018 with a third-place effort in the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3). She's also held her own against tougher competition, with the second-place finish to champion Songbird by a length in the 2017 Delaware Handicap and she was runner-up to Romantic Vision in the 2017 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
After the Spinster, she closed out 2017 with a narrow victory in the Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes and then ran second in the Via Borghese Stakes, both over the Gulfstream Park turf.
Bred by Aschinger Bloodstock in Kentucky, Martini Glass is out of the winning Run Softly mare Glassy. With the Royal Delta score, she improved her earnings to $653,675 and record to 9-5-2 from 22 starts.