Undefeated Aqsaam pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the
Gulfstream Park meeting on Jan. 29 when she captured her third straight
victory without a loss.
The 4-year-old filly’s victory in the turf allowance was hardly
unexpected considering her 6-5 favoritism, but it was the way she won
that caught everyone off guard. After launching her very promising
career with a pair of deep-closing triumphs, the daughter of Dynaformer
went right to the lead in the 1 7/16-mile route.
McLaughlin-trained filly set the pace into the stretch before being
headed in mid-stretch, only to fight back to win by a half-length.
“There was no pace in the race and we were in the clear on the outside,
so it’s hard to cover one up with no pace,” McLaughlin said. “She won;
it just wasn’t pretty.”
Shadwell Stable’s Aqsaam will return in Saturday’s $150,000 Orchid (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares.
“It’s a step up obviously from an allowance race to a graded stakes, but we know she can get the distance,” McLaughlin said.
Considering that Aqsaam will be meeting much tougher competition in the
Orchid, her trainer doesn’t think his filly can afford to duplicate the
running style she employed last time out.
“We’d prefer to keep her covered up and not have her on the lead like
she was the last time,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully, we can keep her
covered up and have her run like she did the first two times.”
Aqsaam debuted at Saratoga last September in a seven-furlong race taken
off the turf and run on a sloppy track. The Kentucky-bred filly broke
very slowly from her rail post position to trail the 10-horse field for a
half-mile before surging late to graduate by a nose. She returned to
action at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 8, when she raced far back after early
crowding before again making an impressive late run to win going away
by nearly two lengths.