Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Dacita made a striking last-to-first burst down the Saratoga stretch to nail three other fillies and mares on the wire in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on Saturday. The 5-year-old daughter of the late Scat Daddy captured her first top-level race in the United States, covering nine furlongs in 1:46.25 over a turf course rated firm despite a rain shower that began during the race’s post parade. Dacita was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. for trainer Chad Brown.
“It was a lot to watch,” said Brown. “In the end it was like a replay of the Ballston Spa last year when Dacita got up the last jump to beat Tepin. Similar finish here. Dacita loves Saratoga and she knows where the wire is. The first quarter there they were rolling along. I know they tried to slow it down some but it really set the tone for the race that someone from behind, or in mid-pack at worse, was probably going to have the best run. Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] was patient and worked out another great trip for Dacita, and she timed it just right. Obviously I’ll be watching this race several times over again. I was able to see some of everyone throughout the race. Obviously two of them ran real well [Dacita and Rainha Da Bateria] and the other two were disappointing, so I need to go back to the drawing board with those other horses (Wekeela and Mrs McDougal) because I know they’re top-class horses as well. It was Dacita’s day today, but all of them will probably head in different directions from here.”
As expected, Isabella Sings was very quick from the outer-most post position, guided by Paco Lopez immediately to the lead and over to the rail before the first turn. That filly held a nearly three-length advantage over Onus at the quarter-mile mark, which Isabella Sings marked in a quick :22.88. Those two were followed by Mrs. McDougal, Sandiva, and Miss Temple City, with Dacita bringing up the rear of the 10-horse field. Approaching the half-mile mark, Lopez had settled Isabella Sings and relinquished her wide early advantage, maintaining just a single length’s lead over Onus to mark the fraction in :47.25. Dacita was still dead last entering the far turn.
Rounding the turn, Onus moved up to challenge Isabella Sings, covering three-quarters in 1:11.08 as the late-running fillies and mares began rolling from the rear of the field. Dacita was angled widest of all, while Miss Temple City moved up the rail. Rainha Da Bateria and Recepta were also moving well through the turn. At the top of the lane, Onus and Mrs. McDougal were stride for stride with Recepta moving up three-wide along the outside. Recepta took over the lead, but Rainha Da Bateria was breathing down her neck on the outside and Miss Temple City was pressuring from the rail. Dacita still had several strides to make up with a sixteenth to run, but Ortiz switched to a right-handed stick and she changed back to her left lead, which gave her the kick she needed to thrust her nose in front on the wire.
“She’s a nice filly,” said Ortiz. “I got the perfect trip while saving ground. She came from last and come running at the end.”
Late in the stretch just jumps before the wire, there was some bumping between both Dacita and Rainha Da Bateria and between Recepta and Rainha Da Bateria. At the wire, Recepta was a nose behind Dacita in second, with Rainha Da Bateria relegated to third between those two. A steward’s inquiry lasted several long minutes after the race, but in the end they decided not to make any changes to the order of finish. Miss Temple City, off her trip to Royal Ascot, finished fourth, beaten less than a half-length for everything.
“They were coming out a little and we just had a little contact – brushing,” Ortiz said of the incident. “My impression was that they came out more than anything.”
Bred in Chile by Haras Paso Navado, Dacita began her career in her home country with three Group 1 victories. When transferred to trainer Chad Brown in the United States last summer, Dacita won her first start in a G2 at Saratoga, then finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. She ran a pair of competitive races over the winter/spring at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland, and most recently won the G2 New York Stakes at Belmont Park. Dacita has now won nine of her 15 career starts to boast earnings of nearly $ 970,000.
Watch the race replay here:
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