New and Improved overcame a slow start and moderate pace to capture Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point over the inner turf course at Belmont Park.
Owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables and trained by Chad Brown, New and Improved made her graded stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile event for sophomore fillies. Her prior start was a fourth-place finish beaten 1 3/4 lengths to stablemate Catch a Bid in the Riskaverse at Saratoga.
Leaving from post 5 in the seven-horse field, New and Improved broke last and was immediately shifted toward the rail by jockey Joel Rosario approaching the first turn. Dual stakes winner Souper Escape took command completing the opening quarter-mile in 24.28 seconds, while Dyna Passer was 2 1/2 lengths behind in second just to the inside of 23-1 longshot Ledecka.
Approaching the far turn, Souper Escape's advantage dwindled to 1 ½ lengths with the half-mile completed in 49.10 seconds. At the top of the stretch, Rosario urged New and Improved five wide as Souper Escape maintained a narrow lead. With an eighth of a mile left to go, Feel Glorious snuck up in between horses as New and Improved began inching her way to the lead.
New and Improved, full of run, got up to win by a half-length in a final time of 1:48.22 over Feel Glorious, who was 1 ½ lengths to the better of Romantic Pursuit in third.
Olendon, Dyna Passer, Souper Escape and Ledecka completed the order of finish.
New and Improved, who returned $5.20 for a $2 win bet as the mutuel favorite, arrived at the Sands Point as the most lightly raced horse in the field. Having not raced until July of this year, the daughter of second crop sire Cairo Prince graduated at first asking over the lawn at Saratoga before finishing fourth in the Riskaverse.
New and Improved was a third Sands Point victor for Brown, who previously saddled Ball Dancing (2014) and Uni (2017) to wins in the event. The triumph took place just minutes before Brown saddled Cambier Parc to a victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.
“Chad [Brown, trainer] told me before the race to just keep her comfortable and let her relax. The pace was fine up front, so I just kept her going easy early,” Rosario said. “She was there for me when I asked her and when we got to the turn she hit that gear and kept going. She was very impressive. She made the job easy. She's a very talented horse to be able to finish with a kick that strong. I have to thank Chad and the owners for the opportunity to be aboard today.”
Junior Alvarado, who piloted runner-up Feel Glorious, was nevertheless proud of his filly.
“I had a dream trip. I can't say anything bad about her,” Alvarado said. “Every time I wanted to make a move she was there for me. Turning for home, I saw the outside horse [New and Improved] get a little bit of a jump on me, but I thought I still had a chance to get it because I got through on the rail. She tried really hard.”
New and Improved enhanced her lifetime earnings to $165,000 after cashing $110,000 from the win.
Bred in Kentucky by Sun Valley Farm, New and Improved is out of the Giant's Causeway broodmare High Style, whose dam was multiple Grade 1 winner Tout Charmant. She was purchased for $320,000 from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Live racing resumes Sunday, October 13 with a nine-race card, highlighted by the $100,000 Point of Entry. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
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