Phillip Sagan's Mia Torri took the lead at the top of the stretch of Saturday's Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park and then held off the fast-closing You Brought Her to earn her first stakes victory.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Mia Torri won by a neck. You Brought Her finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher, Moment of Delight, in the six-horse field of filly and mare sprinters. Jamie's Dancer, Lucky Switch and Flutterby completed the order of finish.
Mia Torri, a 4-year-old daughter of General Quarters, is trained by Jorge Navarro. The Florida-bred came into Navarro's care late last year with a record of 1-3-1 in five starts, which included a runner-up finish in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) last September. In her first race for her new trainer, the filly easily won a state-bred optional claimer at Gulfstream Park Dec. 19.
Flutterby, the pacesetter, was pushed along by Mia Torri through an opening quarter of 22.15. After a half-mile in 44.99, Flutterby was retreating, and Mia Torri had assumed the lead, and Moment of Delight was making her presence felt.
Navarro said the manner in which the six-furlong Distaff unfolded was not what he anticipated.
“When I saw our filly that close, I thought 'Oh my God, we're in trouble now,' ” he remarked. “But, hey, she can run.”
Castellano acknowledged that Mia Torri was keen to grab the bit in the early stages.
“I took a little bit of a hold of her on the backside because she wanted to dictate the pace,” the rider said. “I didn't want to hook up with the speed because I know (Flutterby) has the speed. I wanted to save something for the end.”
You Bought Her, who was rated in fourth down the backside by her rider, John Velazquez, was rolling in the stretch and appeared poised to pass Mia Torri, who had already put Moment of Delight away, but the winner had more in the tank.
“I felt pretty confident, but the last couple of yards before the wire I had to ride a little bit,” Castellano said. “But I'm very satisfied the way she did it. When I asked her she took off again.”
The winner returned $6 as the 2-1 favorite, and completed the distance in 1:10.32.
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