Off as the post-time favorite, Al Shaqab Racing’s Sandiva managed to get up and defeat her stablemate Isabella Sings by a half length on the wire in Saturday’s Grade 3 Marshua’s River Stakes. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, the 6-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand covered 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream Park’s firm turf course in 1:39.56.
Isabella Sings was not quite as quick out of the starting gate as she normally is, but jockey Edgard Zayas hustled her to the front well before the first turn. She shot out to a three-length lead to speed through the first quarter in :23.17, tracked by Dickinson and Sea Coast. Sandiva was tucked in fourth behind those two, and continued stalking her stablemate’s pace through the half mile in :46.37. Isabella Sings drew her lead out to six lengths down the backstretch, traveling comfortably under Zayas, but Castellano’s patience aboard Sandiva would pay off.
Approaching the far turn, Castellano moved Sandiva three wide to pass Dickinson and draw alongside Sea Coast. Isabella Sings’ lead had shrunk to just two lengths at the top of the stretch, and when Sandiva switched to her right lead she pulled even with the leader easily. The two matched strides briefly in the lane, but Sandiva pulled away in the final sixteenth to win by a half length. Isabella Sings had to settle for second, with Sea Cost rallying up the inside to hold third.
Bred in Ireland by Denis McDonnell, Sandiva was a $ 28,000 yearling purchase. After beginning her career overseas and racking up several stakes victories, Sandiva was transferred to the United States in 2014. It took several starts for the mare to find her footing on the different turf courses, but she really lit up when she first raced over the Gulfstream lawn, and it has remained one of her favorite surfaces ever since. Overall, Sandiva boasts a record of eight wins from 23 starts, with earnings of over $ 750,000.
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