Don Alberto Stable’s Guapaza got her long-awaited first US graded stakes win in Saturday’s Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes, holding off Suffused by a head on the wire. The 5-year-old daughter of Seeking the Dia (Storm Cat) covered 12 furlongs over Saratoga’s firm turf in 2:28.96 under Javier Castellano. The win was trainer Chad Brown’s fourth on the card.
“It’s hard; it’s very difficult here,” Brown said of his barn’s performance. “You have to have the right people help you. We all work together as a team, me and my staff. [We have ] good horses, patient owners, and they’re all in the different races on a different surfaces. When you try to set a plan up and hope for good weather and racing luck — they are so many things that have to go your way. This last stretch a lot things have gone our way. We thrilled with today. Pretty much all of the horses fired today. There is a lot of planning that goes into each day here and each race. It feels good when a plan comes together.”
Photo Call was the sharpest out of the gate, running away from the field to mark a first quarter in :23.28 while a length in front of Ball Dancing. It was another three lengths back to Real Smart and Vielsalm, with Guapaza and Suffused just behind. Photo Call eased up for the half-mile under the wire the first time in :48.15, and was able to catch her breath to mark three-quarters in 1:13.04 while still three lengths in front of Ball Dancing. Approaching the final turn for the last time, Ball Dancing dropped back, but Photo Call still held a one-length lead at the top of the lane.
Guapaza was guided out by Castellano for her run, easily overtaking Photo Call early in the stretch. But Suffused was coming on well late. Guapaza kept on on her left lead, hard-ridden by Castellano, and was just able to hold off Suffused by a head on the wire. Achnaha was able to close well from the rear of the field to be third.
“She was a little farther behind this time, usually she positions herself [closer], but they came out running a little bit quick and I thought that was my best shot, to get behind horses,” Castellano said. “It was great; the way she did it was amazing. Usually, she falls into position and this time, to come from behind and the way she finished, those kind of horses you take advantage of. You never know when you can use that and give your horse the best shot.”
Bred in Chile by Haras Mantacilla, Guapaza began her career in Chile, recording a pair of Group 2 victories in that country. Upon transferring to the United States, she has finished well in several graded stakes, but the Waya was her first graded win in the US. Overall, her record stands at 8-6-4 from 22 starts, with earnings of over $ 380,000.
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