Dacita up in time in frenetic finish to Diana

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July 24th, 2016

Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Dacita, who mugged Tepin on the line in the Ballston Spa (G2) at Saratoga last summer, pulled off a similar last-gasp coup in Saturday’s $500,000 Diana (G1). Going last to first for Irad Ortiz Jr., the two-time Chilean champion edged Recepta and Rainha Da Bateria to earn her first U.S. Grade 1 score. Miss Temple City, the 5-2 favorite, was beaten all of a head in fourth.

Dacita got up in a frenetic finish after scrimmaging with Rainha Da Bateria, her stablemate from the Chad Brown barn, who was the pinball between Dacita and Recepta in deep stretch. Rainha Da Bateria’s jockey, Julien Leparoux, didn’t claim foul against Dacita, but rather lodged an objection against John Velazquez on the Jimmy Toner-trained Recepta. The stewards also posted the inquiry sign, but made no change to the result.

Thus Brown had to be content with a one-three finish from his quartet of starters in the Diana. His other two were Mrs McDougal (seventh) and Wekeela (last of 10).

Deep-closing Dacita and Rainha Da Bateria both appreciated the swift first quarter of :22.88 posted by Isabella Sings. The pacesetter throttled it down through ensuing splits of :47.25 and 1:11.08 on the firm Mellon turf, but that wasn’t enough to offset the toll at the beginning.

The stalking Onus, who accosted Isabella Sings entering the far turn, poked her head in front leaving it. Mrs McDougal, also close up early, covered Onus’s move into the stretch and briefly threatened. But neither could go on, or hold off the closers, past midstretch.

The 9-1 Recepta was the first to strike from midpack and take command, only to find the 28-1 Rainha Da Bateria and the 4-1 Dacita bearing down on the outside. The replay appeared to show that Rainha Da Bateria may have wandered out toward Dacita. The eventual winner may then have lugged in a tad, bumping with Rainha Da Bateria, whose hind end was shoved sideways. In the final strides, Recepta drifted out a bit, and Rainha Da Bateria endured contact from both sides while missing by two noses.

It was a messy outcome, but Recepta was the least involved of the trio and deserved to stay up. Dacita’s role was less straightforward. That said, Dacita had arguably the best momentum, and if Rainha Da Bateria had maintained an arrow-straight path, perhaps she wouldn’t have been near enough for Dacita to give her a bump. Yet admittedly, I could watch the replay another 10 times and maybe see something different. Suffice it to say that Dacita probably wasn’t culpable enough to warrant a demotion, and Rainha Da Bateria suffered very tough luck.

Also unlucky was Miss Temple City, who was on hold behind the stalling Onus before finding room along the inside. Staying on well under top weight of 121 pounds, she made it virtually a line of four abreast at the wire. Although Miss Temple City was giving only two pounds to Dacita, she was spotting six pounds to Recepta and Rainha Da Bateria in a gallant effort. And for whatever it’s worth, Miss Temple City was also on top of them all after the wire.

Strike Charmer checked in a further 1 1/2 lengths adrift in fifth. Those who held some permutation of the first four positions early – Onus, Mrs McDougal, Isabella Sings and Sandiva – tired to sixth through ninth, respectively. Wekeela was always at or near the rear, and I’m really starting to think that the firm ground is getting to her.

Firm ground is just what Dacita wants, though. She got it in the aforementioned Ballston Spa, where she became the last horse to beat champion Tepin. Dacita was only ninth on unsuitably rain-affected going at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Reappearing with a near-miss second in the March 5 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream, she was fourth to Tepin in the April 16 Jenny Wiley (G1) back at Keeneland. In her latest, Dacita beat troubled stablemate Sea Calisi in the June 10 New York (G2) at Belmont Park. Sea Calisi will take this form boost ahead of her tilt at the August 13 Beverly D. (G1), and Dacita’s bankroll has been boosted to $967,361 from her 15-9-2-1 line.

In her native Chile, Dacita reigned as champion 2-year-old turf filly following scores in the Premio Arturo Lyon Pena (G1), Premio Julio Subercaseaux Browne (G3) and the Premio Cotejo de Potrancas (G3). The daughter of Scat Daddy also garnered the divisional title at three after classic wins in the Premio Polla de Potrancas (G1) and Las Oaks (G1), along with a fourth versus males in the El Ensayo (Chilean Derby) (G1).

Quotes from Saratoga

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. on Dacita: “She’s a nice filly. I got the perfect trip while saving ground. She came from last and came running at the end.

“They were coming out a little and we just had a little contact – brushing. My impression was that they came out more than anything.”

Winning trainer Chad Brown: “Dacita loves Saratoga and she knows where the wire is. The first quarter there they were rolling along. I know they tried to slow it down some but it really set the tone for the race that someone from behind, or in mid-pack at worse, was probably going to have the best run. Irad was patient and worked out another great trip for Dacita, and she timed it just right.

“Obviously two of them ran real well (Dacita and Rainha Da Bateria) and the other two were disappointing, so I need to go back to the drawing board with those other horses (Mrs McDougal and Wekeela) because I know they're top-class horses as well. It was Dacita's day today, but all of them will probably head in different directions from here.”


Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand