Two daughters of Curlin broke their maidens today.
One, few saw coming. Another, nigh on everyone did.
Both prevailed by daylight.
First came Always Sarah (Treasure Always, by Summer Squall). This four-year-old filly was racing for the first time since June, and only the fifth time in all. She faced New York-bred maiden special weight company, just as she had in her previous four starts, but tried the Aqueduct inner for the first time. Always Sarah had finished in the money once, and shown some ability to rally even in her first start, but she had not quite put it together.
She had been back on the worktab since mid-December, so despite the long lay, perhaps she still had fitness on her side for this six-furlong test. The size of the field weighed against her more heavily, as a confirmed closer — only five horses saw the starter. Among the five, Always Sarah went off as the longest shot of anyone, at 14/1.
Rail-drawn Congarette sent, with odds-on Adrestia stalking on the outside. Always Sarah settled in fourth, dropping almost ten lengths off the pace by the time the field came into the turn. Just as it looked like the top two were getting away, both Always Sarah and Laura’s Moon kicked into gear. Always Sarah moved better. Past the three-sixteenths pole, Adrestia was dropping out of it. Always Sarah continued to rally. She had dead aim on Congarette, drew even near the sixteenth pole, and boosted clear to win by three widening lengths.
Always Sarah’s four-year-old season got started as well as it possibly could have.
Three-year-old Cced (Chantel D, by Holy Bull) debuted last month at Fair Grounds. She stalked the pace, wide through much of the race, and missed by just a neck behind wire-to-wire winner Abundant Flurry. Still, a chasm remained between Cced and the rest of the field. Any improvement from that performance would make her very hard to beat next out.
She returned today in a similar race: maiden special weight, three-year-old fillies, a mile and seventy yards on the dirt. The public bet her like she couldn’t lose. She opened 1/5 and eventually went off at those odds, though she even dropped to 1/9 for a while.
Cced’s raw talent was on display from the time the gate opened.
She broke sharply from the rail and went straight to the front. Sponaneity tried to go along with her on the outside, and pressed the issue into the clubhouse turn. Cced inched forward, however, and took a length advantage into the backstretch. A length became a length and a half, which became two. Spontaneity dropped out, as Kyle’s Marigold and How Nice tried to pick up the chase. Cced had not been asked yet, but she kept them well at bay.
Turning for home, Kyle’s Marigold tried to keep up, though she was under a drive. Rider Florent Geroux finally asked Cced to go…and she opened up an insurmountable lead. Yankee Lass found enough rally to draw clear of Kyle’s Marigold. But, she proved no match for Cced, who crossed the wire by 5 despite being geared down late.
Once again, Cced has emerged as one to keep an eye on next time out…and one can only hope she will join her pasture buddy as a Grade I winner someday.