Beauty of the Sea noses a win over My Sweet Affair #8 and Love Appeals #1 (Melissa Torres/EQUI-PHOTO)
Tom Luicci/Monmouth Park
OCEANPORT, N.J.— As much as trainer Joe Orseno had been impressed by Beauty of the Sea’s start to her 3-year-old campaign, he knew she needed a test to see exactly where she was.
Test taken and passed.
Let go at 13-1 off two straight wins against lesser competition, Beauty of the Sea took command in mid-stretch and then held off a pair of closers – one on the inside, the other on the outside – for a head victory in Saturday’s $104,000 Blue Sparkler Stakes at Monmouth Park.
The winning time for the 5½ furlongs over a firm turf course was 1:02.68.
“After she broke her maiden so convincingly and easily – and I had another filly in the race that she beat easily – I thought `okay, she’s got some talent. Now we have to see how much,’ ” said Orseno, now six wins shy of 2,000 for his career. “She handled that (first level optional claimer) easily in her next start, and when she did that, there were a couple of older horses in there, I thought if we kept her with 3-year-olds we would have a chance in a stakes race.
“I did not expect this race to come up as tough as it did.”
Ridden by Jairo Rendon, Beauty of the Sea became the first stakes winner for sire Bucchero. Ironhorse Racing Stable, the 3-year-old filly’s owners, also campaigned Bucchero.
With Florent Geroux in from Saratoga just to ride Love Appeals, and with Plentitude coming in 2-for-2 lifetime, Clement’s duo looked particularly dangerous in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies.
Rendon had Beauty of the Sea sitting third early as Bosserati raced through a first quarter in :21.51, reaching the half in :44.15. Rendon had moved Beauty of the Sea outside by then, with the two taking control in mid-stretch and then holding off runner-up My Sweet Affair on the inside and Love Appeals on the outside. My Sweet Affair held off Love Appeals by a neck to claim second.
“I saw her races at Gulfstream and it seemed like she liked being just off the speed and she quickens at the end,” said Rendon. “That’s the way I was thinking to ride her today. When (Bosserati) went out for the lead it gave us a target. She has class and she has a big heart. I just wanted to sit behind the speed and let her get her feet. I was a little worried when I went outside with her because I knew the others were coming. But we got there. She made it.”
Beauty of the Sea now has a 3-1-0 line from five career starts and is 2-for-3 sprinting on the grass.
She paid $28.20 to win.