Stronach Stables' Holy Helena ($4.80) earned a hard-fought victory in her 2018 debut at Gulfstream Park in Sunday's fifth race, a mile optional claiming allowance on turf.
The 4-year-old homebred daughter of Ghostzapper's 2017 campaign was highlighted by a 3 ½-length triumph over the boys in the $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine after beating the girls in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.
Holy Helena, whose career-best races have come over Woodbine's synthetic surface, made her turf debut Sunday, stalking the pace before launching a strong stretch drive to prevail by a neck over pacesetter Killa Instinct.
“There were a lot of questions marks, that's for sure, but she was doing good and we just wanted to get her going somewhere. She's not eligible for a whole lot. We thought it was a good time to try the turf to get a race into her and see if she liked it,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “Who knows, we might try something later on but it also sets her up nicely if we want to run her back on the dirt.”
Holy Helena, who had gone winless in two starts wince winning the Queen's Plate, ran a mile over a firm turf course in 1:38.05 under Jose Ortiz.
Stronach Stables, Jerkens and Ortiz teamed for a victory in the seventh race, a 1 1/8-mile maiden race on turf won by Sweet Sting ($23.40). The 3-year-old daughter of Awesome Again-Perfect Sting ran 1 1/8-miles in 1:50.23 to graduate in her first lifetime start.
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