ELMONT, N.Y. – Swift Thoroughbreds, Inc., Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables’ French-bred Tamahere made her North American debut a winning one in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Sands Point at Belmont Park.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Tamahere entered the one-turn mile for sophomore fillies on the Widener turf off a nearly three-month layoff from a romping 7 ½-length score in the Prix la Sorellina at La Teste De Buch in her native country.
Tamahere settled in seventh position as Pure Wow led the eight-horse field through splits of 23.87 seconds, 47.54 and 1:11.68 on the firm turf while being tracked by 2-1 post-time favorite Miss J McKay and longshot Drop a Hint.
Pure Wow maintained a precarious lead turning for home with Giacosa launching a four-wide bid and Tamahere following her run outside of rivals as Drop a Hint angled off the rail to stake her claim. Speaktomeofsummer, winner of the Grade 2 Lake Placid in July at Saratoga, was full of run but trapped behind rivals with a furlong to run as Tamahere, under urging from Irad Ortiz, Jr., demonstrated a powerful turn of foot and surged to a two-length victory in a final time of 1:35.21.
Speaktomeofsummer, with Joel Rosario up, arrived late to complete the exacta by three-quarters of a length over Drop a Hint.
Rounding out the order of finish were Pure Wow, a dead heat for fifth between Selflessly and Giacosa, Miss J McKay and Positive Power.
Brown said Tamahere, who was reluctant to load into the starting gate, performed to the potential she had shown in her morning workouts at Belmont and Saratoga.
“She trained brilliantly,” said Brown, who earned his fourth career Sands Point score. “As you can see behind the gate, there’s still some work to do. She’s a high-strung horse. She was a little bit keen early on, but Irad got her to settle and she showed us that turn of foot that she showed us in the morning. She’s a really exciting horse to have for the future. We’re lucky to have her. She gave us a lot of confidence that she would be a good horse.”
Brown’s past Sands Point winners include Ball Dancing , Uni  and New and Improved .
Ortiz, Jr., who guided Uni to her Sands Point score, said Tamahere settled nicely once away from the gate.
“She broke good and put me in a good position,” said Ortiz, Jr. “We got some pace in front of us and that worked out perfect because she settled down and relaxed so well. The trainer had told me ‘she has a nice turn-of-foot, you’re going to love her.’ I just trusted Chad and waited as long as I could and when I asked her, she was ready.”
Rosario, aboard the late-closing Speaktomeofsummer, said his filly ran well once she saw daylight.
“It looked like for a second I had a hole to go through and then it just closed, so I had to wait a little longer,” said Rosario. “The other horse just got the jump. She ran well.”
Tamahere, bred in France by E.A.R.L. Elevage Du Sarai, banked $82,500 in victory while improving her record to 7-3-2-1. She paid $7 for a $2 win ticket.
Sands Point Replay
Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont Park with a 10-race card highlighted by the 130th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Futurity, a six-furlong turf sprint offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 6 at Keeneland. It is one of two turf stakes for juveniles on the 10-race card, with the Grade 3, $100,000 Matron for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs also on the docket. First post is 12:50 p.m.
BELMONT Entries Sunday, October 11
By Keith McCalmont, NYRA Press Office
Photo: Tamahere. Credit: Chelsea Durand