Martini Glass rallied from off the pace to capture Monday's $200,000 Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream Park, earning her first graded-stakes success in the mile stakes for older fillies and mares.
Second twice in Grade 1 stakes, including a runner-up finish behind Songbird in the Delaware Handicap last year, the 5-year-old daughter of Kitalpha overtook even-money favorite Lewis Bay in mid-stretch and drew off to win by a length under Paco Lopez.
“We've knocked on the door. To be where we are right now is amazing. We were just thrilled to death to run second to Songbird. That just made our whole year. That was enough there,” trainer Keith Nations said. “She's just moved forward and is getting better.”
Martini Glass ($18.40) was claimed for $16,000 out of a debut victory at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 20, 2016 and has gone on to become a stakes winner on turf and dirt.
“We'd seen her train and liked the look of here. Someone else was in on her too, so we actually won the shake to get her,” said Nations, who owns the Kentucky-bred mare with Vince Campanella. “We do pretty well with the claims, but his time we overachieved.”
Martini Glass, who won the $110,000 Claiming Crown Tiara on turf at Gulfstream Dec. 2, settled off the pace contested by Lewis Bay, Curlin's Approval and Giulia through fractions of 24.01 seconds and 46.48 for the first half mile. Lewis Bay took over the lead as her early challengers began to tire on the turn, where Martini Glass loomed dangerous while advancing between horses. Finding room to the outside, Lopez sent his mount after the Grade 1 stakes-winning Lewis Bay, and the former claimer kicked in powerfully through the stretch to win going away.
“Her last two races she didn't break well, but today she got a perfect trip,” said Lopez, who finished second in the Via Borghese at Gulfstream on turf and third in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) on dirt after winning the Tiara. “When I asked her she gave me everything. She's a very nice filly.”
Lewis Bay, who captured the Rampart (G3) at Gulfstream Dec. 16 off a 13-month layoff, easily held second under Jose Ortiz, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of a late-running Verve's Tale.
Martini Glass ran the one-turn mile in 1:36.48.
“She likes the slop; she likes the turf; there really isn't anything she doesn't do,” said Nations, who is tentatively targeting the Hillsborough (G2) on turf at Tampa Bay Downs March 10 for Martini Glass' next start.
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