Precious Mettle

January 8, 2022

Platinum Gem seeks success as a sophomore; being pointed to Gasparilla

It was the perfect way to start the holiday weekend.

Classic Run Farm’s Platinum Gem showcased her talent by winning a 6-furlong allowance race on Christmas Eve at Tampa Bay Downs, with the juvenile filly’s trip to the winner’s circle bringing joy to her connections, with her second consecutive victory.

A daughter of multiple grade one winner Frosted, out the Mineshaft broodmare Diamonds Please, made the perfect Christmas gift for trainer Maria Bowersock, as the gray filly set the early fractions in the race, dictating a fast pace, and cruised to victory under the confident handling of jockey Pablo Morales. They’ll try to extend that success into Platinum Gem’s sophomore debut on Jan. 15.

“Her fractions were a little faster than I wanted them to be.,” said Bowersock. “If she would have slowed herself down, I probably could’ve got her to rate a little bit better, I think she could’ve won by a few more. But going 21 (21.88) and 44 (44.92) for three-quarters is a little much, and I know they only finished up in 1:11 (1:11.44). I think she wore herself out a bit at the beginning going that fast.

Platinum Gem and Pablo Morales

“She wasn’t as settled as much as she was in the first race. Coming off of a win for a 2-year-old, a sprinting filly, kind of makes it tougher to settle them down, I might not have trained her as aggressively after the first race because she was coming off of a win. We have to try to get her to pace herself a little bit more, and get her to relax, especially wihen our plan is to go in the Gasparilla, which is 7-furlongs, a filly, now she’s three, can’t really do those fractions, and win going 7-furlongs. We’re going to breeze her this weekend and make sure that everything is on track, and just keep on moving her forward as long as she’s training good and doing good, eating well and is happy. Our plan is to definitely go in the Gasparilla.”

It was the second consecutive victory for the connections, with Platinum Gem having broken her maiden, less than three weeks earlier on Dec. 4. The precocious filly had finished third in her first bow on Oct. 7 at Delaware Park, while in the barn of Michael Stidham.

“He (Stidham) didn’t really say much about her,” said Bowersock. “I got a little bit of info from Ben (Trask), his assistant. She was with Ben at Delaware (Park). Training-wise, she’s very easy. She’s a little high-strung filly, that’s about it. The only thing different I did was I added blinkers from her first start to her second start.”

Bowersock previously enjoyed success with a Classic Run Farm homebred, a Florida-bred son of Turbo Compressor, who won his last start on Feb. 5, 2020 at Tampa Bay Downs, the gelding Miami Smuggler, who bankrolled more than $80,000 while in Bowersock’s barn, and is turned out on Michael and Patricia Grimes’ Classic Run Farm in Sumter County, Fla.

Platinum Gem has proven to be a precious jewel in her previous two starts, and her connections are enjoying the moment, in a sport whose vagaries are well-renowned.

“They’re (The Grimes’) ecstatic,” said Bowersock. “They’ve been in the game a long time. They’ve bred some mares and usually sold them…they’ve had a lot of offers for the filly. They decided to keep her. This is always what they’ve wanted to do, have a nice horse. We discussed it, and I said, ‘anything can happen, she could win her second time out, and never win another race.’ but that’s the chance you have to take. They got offered a good bit of money (for her), and they decided to see where it takes them.”

The spirit of the holiday season kept on giving for Bowersock’s barn as the 6-year-old mare Suzie’steppinout won the final start of her career on New Year’s Day. Scott Spieth piloted the daughter of Two Step Salsa to victory. The winner was bred by Martin and Emily Goodell and is owned by Martin Goodell. Suzie’steppinout achieved an important milestone with the win, as she retires as the horse who has made the most money while under Bowersock’s charge, $249,957, eclipsing a horse who was no stranger to fans at Tampa Bay Downs, Divine Ambition, who bankrolled $248,333, while in the trainer’s barn.

“I won 17 races with Divine Ambition and 12 races with Suzie,” said Bowersock. ”It’s a pretty big accomplishment. I’m proud of them both. I see that Suzie has surpassed Divine as my top horse. That’s exciting for her. I’m happy for her owners that they have such a nice filly, and she’s turned out on the farm in Ocala. We’re going to breed her and see what comes of it. She loved her job, and she always ran well for me. I was happy to get her back after she got claimed from me, and then she came back to win which is a good accomplishment for me too, because she was happy to be home and she proved it that she was happy to be with me.”

Photos: Ben Baugh



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Ben Baugh

Ben Baugh has been writing about Thoroughbred racing for more than 25 years. A past winner of the Raleigh Burroughs Award, his work has appeared...

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