Stuart Janney's homebred filly On Leave looked like she might come up short in Saturday's G3 My Charmer at Gulfstream Park, but jockey Irad Ortiz had the Shug McGaughey trainee's run perfectly timed to hit the wire in front. The 4-year-old daughter of War Front bested frontrunning Gianna's Dream by about a neck. Off as the favorite at odds of 4-5, On Leave completed a mile over the firm turf in 1:35.35 for the second graded stakes win of her career.
“I thought Irad rode a really good race,” said McGaughey. “I told him to be a little more aggressive leaving the gate than she was in California. I thought he had really good position. He knew the filly on the lead was backing it up a little bit so he went on after her earlier. He hand rode her at the end. He rode her well and I thought she did it well.
“We've had a good year with her. We're going to race her next year. We'll give her a little time at Payson Park and see where she takes us.”
Gianna's Dream demanded the lead out of the starting gate, then was allowed to set mild fractions of :24.09 and :48.28 with a one-length cushion through the backstretch. She was chased by April Gaze and Defiant Honor, while Jodesanimeaux and the eventual winner On Leave moved in unison in the fourth position.
Rounding the far turn, Defiant Honor moved up to challenge Gianna's Dream, and Ortiz had to take On Leave three-wide. Gianna's Dream had something in reserve, and the filly scooted away from her rivals by three-quarters of a length at the top of the stretch.
Ortiz never panicked aboard On Leave, continuing to ride the filly with measured precision as she inched toward the leader with every stride. In the final 100 yards, On Leave was able to fight her way past Gianna's Dream to hit the wire a neck in front. Stormy Victoria closed from the rear of the field to finish third, and April Gaze hung around to finish fourth.
“I rode her last time and she got in a lot of trouble and that's why she didn't win that day, and she got beat by a nice filly,” Ortiz said. “I didn't want to make the same mistake again. I warmed her up good and I put her right there. We were a little closer and I wanted to be in the clear. She kept giving it to me and she's the kind of filly that can go a little farther, too, so I knew she'd be all right at the end.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, On Leave is out of a multiple stakes-placed daughter of A.P. Indy. She has now won seven of her 14 career starts for earnings of over $800,000.
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