Dust and Diamonds Shines in Sugar Swirl

At the beginning of the year, Dust and Diamonds was not a household name. An allowance winner at age 3, she dropped three straight starts spanning three months before finally connecting in an allowance optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park back in March. Four months later she became a stakes winner, running away with the Dashing Beauty Stakes in wire-to-wire fashion. She then followed up that win with a convincing victory over a trio of Grade 1 winners in the G2 Gallant Bloom Handicap, a Win and You’re In race for the BC F&M Sprint. By that point, she had made her mark.
 
 
In the BC F&M Sprint, Dust and Diamonds finished a clear second while being well behind monster sprinter Groupie Doll. Considering who she faced, second place was nothing of which to be ashamed. After her game second place BC finish, Dust and Diamonds was purchased by Stud TNT at the Fasig Tipton November Sale. She was transferred from Steven Asmussen to Todd Pletcher, who lost no time in getting her ready for the G3 Sugar Swirl Stakes at Gulfstream Park for her new owners.
 
 
The Vindication filly was clearly the class of the Sugar Swirl, a fact that bettors recognized and supported. Dust and Diamonds was sent off as the heavy 1-2 favorite; the second choice, Sacristy, was sent off at 7-2. Dust and Diamonds, with John Velazquez aboard, did not disappoint her backers. She was away from the gate in good order, set the pace, and drew away to a dazzling 2 ¾ length victory in near track record time. Her final time of 1.08:66 was just fifty-four hundredths of a second off of Big Drama’s track record.
 
 
Dust and Diamonds will be back in 2013 and will probably make her season debut in the G3 Hurricane Bertie on February 10. Like last year, Groupie Doll is wintering at Gulfstream which presents the possibility of a re-match between the top two finishers in the BC F&M Sprint. Groupie Doll had an absolutely fantastic year, but Dust and Diamonds’ record speaks for itself; in 11 career starts, she has never finished worse than third, and her last three races have, without a doubt, been her best efforts. Both fillies will enter 2013 at the top of their game, and I look forward to seeing these two lovely ladies duke it out in sunny Florida to begin next year’s racing season.


Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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