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Dust and Diamonds Clearly Best in Sugar Swirl

Dust and Diamonds wins 2012 Gallant Bloom
The old racetrack axiom, ‘There’s no such thing, as a sure thing,” didn’t apply in Saturday’s $100,000 Adena Springs Sugar Swirl (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Dust and Diamonds looked like a cinch to win the six furlong sprint for fillies and mares, and the 1-2 favorite didn’t disappoint her enthusiastic backers during a thoroughly professional performance.

After finishing a solid second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita in her last race, the 4-year-old daughter of Vindication entered the Sugar Swirl with a considerable class advantage, which she effectively employed to conquer her five rivals.

Dust and Diamonds ($3.00) broke sharply to set the pace while racing a couple paths off the rail, pressed to the inside by Honey Chile and Hearts of Red to the outside along the backstretch. Jockey John Velazquez sat quietly during a first half-mile in 45.17 seconds, knowing he was very much in control of the race under his multiple stakes-winning filly. After straightening into the stretch, Dust in Diamonds edged away from her competition to score by 2 ¾ lengths, running six-furlongs in 1:08.66.

“She broke really well and it was pretty easy. Once she broke I just set my hands down and held her together, the horse on the outside didn’t have the speed and didn’t break very good, so I just held my ground and kept her farther out of there just to hold my position good and not have her move to soon,” Velazquez said. “I just sat ‘til the three-eighths pole and gave her head and the rest was easy, nice horse.”

Dust and Diamonds was making her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners TNT Stud and Three Chimneys. The Kentucky-bred filly was purchased out of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale for $900,000 two days after her strong Breeders’ Cup effort, in which she finished 4 ½ lengths behind odds-on favorite Groupie Doll and nearly four lengths ahead of the third-place finisher, Switch.

“I’m very pleased. I don’t know what else she could have done, running six-furlongs in 1:08-and-3 and winning under a hand ride,” said Pletcher by phone from New York, where he saddled San Pablo for a victory in the Queen’s County Stakes at Aqueduct.

Pletcher said the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 10 is a likely target for Dust and Diamonds next start.

Dust and Diamonds earned $60,000 for her sixth victory in 11 career starts.

The Marty Wolfson-trained duo of Golden Mystery and Nakano finished second and third, respectively.



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