Darley Stable homebred Better Lucky held off the fast-closing Regalo Mia by a nose in Monday's Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park, getting a perfect trip under jockey Eddie Castro to score her first stakes victory. The daughter of Ghostzapper from the Seeking the Gold mare Sahara Gold saved ground from her rail post as Preach Tome Daddy set the pace, then swung three wide at the top of the stretch to take command, and had just enough left to hold off Regalo Mia at the wire. Zultanite was a close third.
Tom Albertrani trains Better Lucky, who was sent off at 8-1 odds following a sprint victory over a muddy main track at Belmont Park on May 2. The Sands Point was her third win in five starts. Time of the race was 1:42.75 on a firm inner turf course after fractions of :25.60, :49.74, 1:13.29 and 1:36.66.
Heavy favorite Somali Lemonade, the only previous stakes winner in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, was never a factor, getting shuffled back to the rear of the field in the run down the backstretch, then failed to threaten.
Quotes, courtesy NYRA media office
Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Better Lucky (No. 1): “I was a little concerned, I thought she'd be on the lead easy. It looked like we were getting a little bit outrun, but Eddie did a great job, just rode with patience and found a seam to get through. She finished up good. The last jump was pretty tight, I said 'I'll settle for a dead heat here!'
“From past experience, I've seen horses run well in the mud [and then run well on the grass]. Brilliant Speed is a perfect example. It's kind of a different angle, you're not always certain it will work, but sometimes it does. It certainly did today. We're very excited that she was able to win this race and we'll just pick a spot down the road for her.”
Eddie Castro, winning jockey aboard Better Lucky (No. 1): “I saved ground all the way. I got a nice position behind number 6 [Preach Tome Daddy]. Coming into the stretch I moved to the outside and she gave me all that she had. She tried really hard and held for the photo finish.”
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