It took the winter for Stoneway Farm’s Pretty Perfection to heat up, reeling off her third consecutive victory and second straight in a stakes in Saturday’s $ 75,000 Captiva Island at Gulfstream Park.
The third running of the five-furlong Captiva Island for fillies and mares 4 and older on the grass was the first of two turf sprints on the 13-race program, along with the $ 75,000 Silks Run for 4-year-olds and up.
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite in a field of seven, Pretty Perfection ($ 5) completed the distance in 54.26 seconds over a firm turf course. She finished a half-length ahead of Brandy’s Girl in second with another half-length back to Ruby Notion in third, both of whom are multiple stakes winners.
“She’s surprised me. I don’t know if she just likes the turf here but it’s tough to go three-for-three at Gulfstream Park. This is the elite meet with tough horses,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “If you’re going to pick a horse out of your barn and say they’re going to win three races in the meet … I like the filly, don’t get me wrong, but three-for-three at Gulfstream Park, that’s a feat in itself.”
Jockey Nik Juarez, aboard for all three of her mounts this winter, settled Pretty Perfection in mid-pack along the rail as Nite Delite sped uncontested through an opening quarter-mile in 21.13 seconds chased by 25-1 long shot My Sister Caro. Nite Delite was still in front after a half in 43.04 when Juarez swung out two wide leaving the backstretch to launch his bid.
“We’ve really figured it out now. Three races back, when she just started to settle, she really found her niche,” Juarez said. “That’s what she does, she breaks on top, I take a nice hold of her, and then she finishes really well.”
Pretty Perfection collared Nite Delite after straightening for home and powered down the middle of the track, having plenty left to hold off a strong bid from Brandy’s Girl for her sixth win from 13 lifetime starts. She came from off the pace to win the Ladies’ Turf Sprint Jan. 28 last time out.
“Handicapping-wise it looked like there was going to be a ton of speed, and when she’s sitting fourth going down the backside I’m saying, ‘Where’s all the speed for us to run into?’” Breen said. “I was a little concerned, but like Nick said when he came back, ‘She’s right right now.’”
Pretty Perfection went winless in three starts last year after being moved to Breen, finishing sixth after contesting the pace in the Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga. She was third in an optional claimer and fifth in the Lighting City in December at Tampa Bay Downs before opening 2017 with a neck victory over Brandy’s Girl in another optional claimer Jan. 4.
“She likes to win if you look back at her form. Maybe I threw her to the wolves at Saratoga and she needed to get a little more fit,” Breen said. “She needed a couple races and we gave her the right due diligence to come around, and she did. Man, she’s good right now.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2017 Paulick Report.