Uzziel capitalizes as lone speed in Goldikova
Photo courtesy of Benoit.
James and Tammy McKenney's homebred Uzziel proved the truth of the old adage "pace makes the race," making the most of her status as controlling speed to earn her first graded victory in Sunday's $200,250 Goldikova (G2) at Del Mar. Even-money favorite Elektrum, who stayed home rather than ship to Keeneland as a Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) also-eligible, wound up fourth.
Uzziel had won three stakes sprinting on the dirt -- the 2014 Santa Paula at Santa Anita and the Beverly J. Lewis at Los Alamitos as well as the September 6 C.E.R.F. at Del Mar. She'd also placed in several stakes this term, the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria (G2) back in February; the April 10 Santa Lucia, where she was best of the rest behind Beholder; and the Rancho Bernardo (G3) and L.A. Woman (G3) of late.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his Hall of Fame brother Kent, Uzziel used that sprint speed to good effect in a rare turf venture here. The 6-1 chance scampered to the fore through an opening quarter in :23.66, got away with a half in :47.55, and had plenty left when Elektrum ranged up to challenge through six furlongs in 1:11.45. Queen of the Sand also made rapid headway rounding into the stretch, but the closers ultimately couldn't land a blow.
Uzziel quickened right away from them, extending her advantage to 2 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:34.77 for the mile. The other five runners flashed past in line abreast for the minors. Queen of the Sand edged Gender Agenda for third, with Elektrum a one-paced fourth in the bunched finish.
By Harlington, who also sired Saturday's TwinSpires Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Wavell Avenue, Uzziel is out of the Lord at War mare Pretti Woman. The California-bred has compiled a record of 20-6-4-3, $457,488.
According to reports on Twitter, Uzziel was vanned off afterward:
Postrace quotes courtesy of Del Mar:
Jockey Kent Desormeaux: "Keith told me that the way to win with her today was to just let her roll, to just come away from there and keep on going. Her demeanor today was so much better than last time. She let me ride her today; she was an angel. Other times she gets too aggressive; she wants to fight you. But today she just did it. She tries every time. You’ve got to love her for that. The only way they beat her is to be better than her. But today it was her day.
"She tripped on me just after the wire, then she seemed to be limping (on the gallop out). I erred on the side of caution here. After that incident, she seemed fine. She was walking OK and she got on the van (horse ambulance) fine. I think they’ll get her back to the barn and find out she’s fine. But I just didn’t want to take any chances.”
Assistant trainer Joasin Diego: “Keith talked to Kent about the race, but the only way she wins is from the front. When she broke in front, I thought, ‘We got it.’ After the race she was just a little (overheated). She’ll be all right.”