Penwith adds stakes win to resume in Royal Delta

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Jen Caldwell

February 13th, 2016

Godolphin Racing’s Penwith easily held off 6-5 favorite Sandiva to earn her first stakes win in Saturday’s $200,000 Royal Delta S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Sandiva, a multiple Grade/Group 3 winner on turf, was trying dirt for the first time in her career and reputed herself well but was no match in the stretch for Penwith.

Best Behavior led the way through an opening half-mile in :23.77 and :47.31 with Penwith drafting off her flank. Enchantress and Sandiva were keeping each other company just in behind and Gamblers Rose ran in last on the backstretch.

Penwith drew even with Best Behavior and stuck her head in front past six furlongs in 1:11.30 before entering the final turn. Sandiva was also putting in her move and found herself about four wide.

Penwith had a secure hold of the lead under Luis Saez by this point and, despite Sandiva’s attempts to reel her in, continued to pull away while drifting out a bit.

The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was three lengths clear on the wire and stopped the clock in 1:43.16 for 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream’s fast main track. Penwith paid $8.80 as the near 7-2 third choice in the five-distaffer field.

Sandiva did well in her main track bow, but just could not get there in the end. She was easily best of the rest, though, four lengths up on 8-5 second choice Best Behaviour in third. It was another five lengths back to Gamblers Rose, who took fourth by a length over Enchantress. Call Pat was scratched.

Penwith is now 5-1-2 from 13 career starts and has banked $404,635 in lifetime earnings. The Bernardini five-year-old added a first stakes win to her resume in this spot after previously placing in the 2013 Demoiselle S. (G2), 2014 Indiana Oaks (G2) and last year’s Affectionately S. The bay mare is two-for-two thus far in 2016 having also captured her season opener at Gulfstream against allowance/optional claiming rivals.

Bred in Kentucky by Darley, Penwith is out of multiple Grade 1 winner Composure, who is a full sister to Grade 3 victor Ready Set. Penwith is herself a half-sister to Grade 1-placed full A.P. Indy siblings Tranquil Manner and Centring.

Penwith photo courtesy of Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography


Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer Penwith, winner: “It was a very good ride, a good spot, and she ran huge. She’s come back great this year. I’m glad the owners were patient and gave her the time off and she’s come back great. She’s beautiful and doing well, and it was a great win.

“(Saez) rode a great race and had her right there pretty comfortable. She looked like she was going easy. I told him not to hit her if he didn’t have to because she doesn’t really like the whip. It was great that he didn’t have to because she was cruising along.”

Luis Saez, jockey Penwith, winner: “That was perfect. I thought (Gamblers Rose) or (Enchantress) would go to the lead, too, but my filly broke good. (Best Behavior) went to the lead and I put my filly right there. It was perfect all the time, and when we came to the three-eighths pole she took off. I had a lot of horse the whole way. That was easy.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer Sandiva, second: “I thought she handled the dirt really well. She kind of tossed her head right at the start and had to make up a little bit of ground into the first turn but after that I thought she ran really well. She was just second-best to Kiaran’s filly today.”