Cara’s Time Springs 22-1 Upset in $125K Joseph A. Gimma

September 24, 2023

Cara’s Time splashes home under Dylan Davis (NYRA/Coglianese)

By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Richard Greeley’s Cara’s Time took control early on and never looked back, fending off a late surge from 4-5 post time favorite Caldwell Luvs Gold to post a 22-1 upset in Sunday’s $125,000 Joseph A. Gimma for New York-bred juvenile fillies going seven furlongs at Belmont at the Big A.

Cara’s Time made amends from the last-out Seeking the Ante on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course, where she first sported blinkers and finished a distant fifth behind Caldwell Luvs Gold. The Mitchell Friedman-trained daughter of leading fourth-crop sire Not This Time took the blinkers off for Sunday’s race, where she appeared comfortable on the front end and won by 1 1/2 lengths under Dylan Davis.

Breaking from post 1, Cara’s Time was in command within a few strides out of the gate with My Shea D Lady keeping company a close second through a 22.87-second opening quarter mile over the sloppy and sealed main track. Nicky Jolene and My Mane Squeeze raced a respective third and fourth with Caldwell Luvs Gold bringing up the rear, five lengths behind Cara’s Time.

As the field rounded the far turn, Cara’s Time remained in front through a half-mile in 46.23 with Caldwell Luvs Gold advancing a position under Florent Geroux, who had his filly under an all-out drive and went four-wide nearing upper stretch.

Cara’s Time was at a five-length advantage in the stretch, but Caldwell Luvs Gold had dead aim at the pacesetter and attempted to reel her in in the final furlong. Cara’s Time had enough to hold on for victory, completing the course in 1:23.28. Caldwell Luvs Gold finished another 5 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place finisher My Mane Squeeze, followed by My Shea D Lady and Nicky Jolene.

Davis said his filly appreciated the sloppy going.

“I’d never sat on her in the morning, but I saw she had good gate speed. Our plan was to break and come out running,” Davis said. “When she got there, she was loving every part of it. She was a little skipper on that mud and she really got comfortable. I could hear them behind me trying to range up at the two-and-a-half, and I just tried to get her run going a little bit, but not too much because she got late there with [Jose] Lezcano last time out. She just kept finding more and more down the lane, so it was great. The one closer [Caldwell Luvs Gold] was coming, but I knew it was too late for her.”

Friedman spoke of the decision to use blinkers for her last start, which came following a debut triumph in June at Belmont Park where she unseated jockey Jose Lezcano following the race.

Cara’s Time after her gate-to-wire victory (Susie Raisher)

“I thought she would probably get the lead by herself, but I was surprised [to win] a bit. She didn’t run good last time, but I knew she had a good excuse,” Friedman said. “I put the blinkers on her and it made her a little worse. She’s nervous and wants to react to it. She had dumped the rider after she broke her maiden, and in the mornings, if she sees something, she won’t walk through the end of the barn – she has to go through the middle if there’s something she doesn’t like. I thought the blinkers would help with all of that and she worked well with them, but we took them off and [hoped] she would stay focused.”

While Friedman said he is in “no rush” to decide a next target for Cara’s Time, other stakes events for New York-bred 2-year-old fillies include the $200,000 Maid of the Mist on October 29 going a one-turn mile at Belmont at the Big A and the six-furlong $100,000 Key Cents on November 18 at the Aqueduct fall meet.

Geroux said the sloppy track hindered the previously undefeated Caldwell Luvs Gold’s chances.

“She had a tough time. The first half-mile of the race, I just couldn’t get her going. I know usually she’s far back, but she’s in contention – this time she was completely out of it and they were getting away from me,” Geroux said. “I got her into the clear and she came with a nice run, but the horse on the lead just never stopped. I feel like if she was a little closer, she could have won.”

Cara’s Time returned a cool $47 for a $2 win wager, also banking $68,750 in victory which brought her lifetime earnings up to $118,000. Her record now stands at 3-2-0-0.

Bred in the Empire State by Stephen Crestani, Jr., Cara’s Time is out of the Macho Uno mare Zindra, whose multiple stakes-placed half-sister Bahia Beach produced multiple graded stakes-winning dirt marathon specialist Next.

Live racing resumes on Thursday with a 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

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