Making a bold move on the far turn under Irad Ortiz Jr., Joseph Allen's homebred War Front filly, Dream Awhile, picked up her first graded stakes victory on Saturday, winning the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park by three-quarters of a length. Special Event finished another two lengths back in second, with Elysea's World third, Viva Vegas fourth and Gianna's Dream last in the field of five older fillies and mares. Lift Up, Star of Midnight and Feeling Bossy were scratched.
Dream Awhile, trained by Chad Brown, covered 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.59. She paid $3 as the odds-on favorite.
Gianna's Dream showed the way under Kendrick Carmouche, setting unchallenged fractions of :25.14, :49.73 and 1:12.62 for the opening six furlongs. Dream Awhile, off a bit slowly, raced in fourth until reaching the backstretch, then moved toward the leader approaching the far turn. At that stage, Ortiz let out a notch on the bay filly and she moved quickly to the lead, opening up on the field and holding a clear advantage turning into the stretch. She covered a mile in 1:35.61 en route to her final clocking and won comfortably.
“With a horse loose on the lead like that it was troublesome to me, especially since my filly didn't get away too good from the gate,” said Brown. “I thought Irad Ortiz used good judgment on the backside knowing there was a slow pace and getting her involved when he did. Just really good judgment by Irad and the filly responded. She's been really close, so it's nice to get a graded stakes win for her. She's such a well-bred filly. We're excited about her future.”
“I just let her do her thing,” said Ortiz. “I had the best horse in the race, so even though they went slow early and tried to back it up I was able to drop in and get her to relax. To beat this horse they have to run. So I just let her settle and do her thing and she really responded when I asked her to.”
The win was the second in five U.S. starts for Dream Awhile, who began her career in France for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. She won 2-of-5 in France before coming to the U.S. and joining Brown's stable last fall. Winner of the Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park Dec. 30, she was beaten a neck by Elysea's World in the G3 Suwannee River Feb. 10, then finished third behind Proctor's Ledge in the G2 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs May 5. Bred in Kentucky by her owner, she was produced from the Montjeu mare Baroness Richter.
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