Trainer Todd Pletcher continued his domination of the older filly and
mare handicap division at Gulfstream Park this winter after sending
Awesome Maria out to a decisive 4 3/4-length victory over the 8-5
favorite, Amen Hallelujah, in Saturday's $100,000 Sabin.
Six days earlier, Pletcher won Hurricane Bertie in similarly dominant
fashion with Hilda's Passion. Both the one-mile Sabin and 6 1/2-furlong
Hurricane Bertie are Grade 3 events.
Making her first start since finishing second in the Grade 1 Gazelle on
Nov. 27, Awesome Maria forced the pace of Catch a Thief while well held
by jockey John Velazquez, readily turned back a bid from Amen Hallelujah
in early stretch then drew off to an easy victory. Amen Hallelujah was
clearly second best, finishing 5 1/4 lengths in front of the tiring
Catch a Thief.
Awesome Maria, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Maria's Mon, completed
the distance in 1:36.38 over a fast track and paid $6.20.