Gold Sweep graduates with a nine-length victory in the Tremont (NYRA/Coglianese)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
ELMONT, N.Y.— Mike McCarty’s Gold Sweep swooped to an impressive nine-length score under Jose Ortiz in Sunday’s $150,000 Tremont, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for juveniles, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who sent out juvenile filly Closing Act to victory in the Astoria earlier on the card, Gold Sweep delivered on the promise he demonstrated with a late-closing bid to finish second, by a neck, in his five-furlong debut on May 18 at Churchill Downs.
“He didn’t get away real well first time out and just got a lot of experience out of the race. We knew watching him train that there was a lot more there,” said Asmussen assistant Scott Blasi. “We had enough confidence in him to bring him up here and you saw how he performed today. It’s been a nice weekend for us.”
Maiden winners Vitement and Ship Cadet dueled for the early lead with Gold Sweep racing in third position to their outside as the opening quarter-mile elapsed in 23.32 seconds over the fast main track.
Gold Sweep advanced without urging through the turn as Ship Cadet took over from a retreating Vitement after a half-mile in 45.65. The confidently handled Gold Sweep was in command at the top of the lane, and with a shake of the reins from Ortiz, he took off to graduate emphatically in a final time of 1:03.47.
The Irad Ortiz, Jr.-piloted Ship Cadet completed the exacta by 1 1/4-lengths over Yo Yo Candy. Frosty the Giant, who broke a step slow, finished fourth with Jumpingjaggerflash and Vitement rounding out the order of finish. Jive was scratched.
Ortiz, aboard Gold Sweep for the first time, said he was impressed with the colt’s professionalism.
“We jumped out of there well from the gate. He put me into a lovely position and was so relaxed and easy. Passing the three-eighths, I was confident he was going to get it done,” Ortiz said. “I put my hands down and he was just a pro. At the quarter-pole, he was beautiful, and at the three-sixteenths, he switched leads and exploded.
“I showed him the whip a little just to ask him to get away and from that point on I just told him to finish the race,” added Ortiz. “I didn’t encourage him a whole lot and he did it pretty easy. For a 2-year-old in his second race and a maiden, I think he’s going to be pretty nice.”
Ortiz, Jr. said he was proud of the performance from Ship Cadet, but tipped his cap to the impressive Gold Sweep.
“The winner was much the best and freaky-good today,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “I had a beautiful trip and broke so good with a perfect spot. Then I got pressure from the winner at the three-eighths pole, but he kept trying. He ran great.”
Gold Sweep could now target a start in the Grade 3, $175,000 Sanford on July 15 at Saratoga Race Course.
“Possibly the Sanford,” Blasi said. “We’ll talk to Steve and Mr. McCarty and see what we want to do.”
The $285,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale purchase is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Wonder Brew, while his second dam, the multiple graded stakes-placed Ontario-bred Ginger Brew, took honors as Canada’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly after winning the 2008 Woodbine Oaks.
Bred in Kentucky by Joe Anzalone, Gold Sweep banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 2-1-1-0. He returned $3.60 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont with a nine-race card. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.