Brown-out in New York as Dacita spearheads trifecta for barn

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June 10th, 2016

Friday’s $500,000 New York (G2) revolved around the barn of Chad Brown, who sent out three of the seven runners, led by 4-5 favorite Sea Calisi. When she got strung up in traffic on the inside, stablemate Dacita swept down the outside to take the spoils. Sea Calisi got through to finish a brave second, and Guapaza rounded out the all-Brown trifecta.

The New York was a tale of woe for Sea Calisi, and favorite backers, from the beginning. Off to an awkward start when bobbling out of the gate, the French-bred was anchored at the rear of the field as Photo Call dictated through slow fractions of :25.05, :50.31, 1:15.23 and 1:39.39 on the firm inner turf.

Sea Calisi’s moment of decision came rounding the far turn: would jockey Jose Ortiz swing out for clear sailing, or play for luck and stick to the inside? Ortiz opted to keep saving ground, but the seam that was once there evaporated, and the favorite was stuck on hold as the serious business unfolded.

Meanwhile, Brown’s Chilean-bred duo were having a much more straightforward time of it. Guapaza was the first to pounce on the weakening Photo Call, but she had to be casting an anxious glance for her compatriot Dacita. In Chile, two-time champion Dacita was clearly her superior, and she’d edged Guapaza again when they finished second and third in The Very One (G3) back in March at Gulfstream Park.

Sure enough, Dacita was unwinding in deep stretch. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who had been on the inside early, took the opposite tack from his brother on Sea Calisi and angled Dacita out for the drive. Finishing best of all, the 9-2 third choice got up by three-quarters of a length. They came home awfully fast for Dacita to clock 2:01.46 for 1 1/4 miles after such a pedestrian pace. Indeed, she ripped her final quarter in :21 and change.

Sea Calisi’s performance in defeat is full of merit. You can argue that she may have actually gained in stature. For a filly of her robust stamina, proven on soft ground, she wasn’t suited by a 1 1/4-mile race that crawled early and flew late. Yet she still almost won, and may well have with a clean trip. This has to give connections a real boost about her chances in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. But all the same, owner Martin Schwartz might want to invest in a pacemaker.

Guapaza ran her race in third, benefiting from a perfect stalking trip and just yielding to two better stablemates. Don Alberto Stable’s runner can keep enhancing her resume, especially if she swerves a rematch with the top two.

Trophee, Treve’s half-sister, traveled smartly throughout the race but couldn’t hold her position when Sea Calisi bulled her way between horses. She deserves to earn black type sooner rather than later. Photo Call folded tamely in sixth, splitting European shippers Kyllachy Queen and Havana Moon.

Dacita has the distinction of being the last horse to defeat champion Tepin in last summer’s Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga, her U.S. debut for Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds. Except for a pair of subpar runs at Keeneland, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and the Jenny Wiley (G1) last out, the daughter of Scat Daddy has been a boon to the division. Her record now reads 14-8-2-1, $667,361.

Photo by Ronnie Betor/