Making the switch from turf to dirt second out Saturday at Churchill Downs, the Shadwell Farm homebred Altaf didn’t appear to be handling the surface all too well.
Squeezed at the break under jockey Joel Rosario, the 3-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly was positioned near the back of the pack as they flew up front through a quarter mile in 22.58 seconds and half in 45.62.
That sort of setup and a devastating extended, outside rally then put Altaf on the radar for a stakes start next time. She went from nearly last in a field of 12 to winning in geared down fashion, circling her maiden special weight competition.
The final time for the one-turn mile over the main track was 1:36.12, with Altaf’s victory supporting the late money that saw her leave the gate as the 5-2 favorite.
Her victory was the first of the meet, on day No. 5, for the Brown barn, which may not have its “A” team stabling under the Twin Spires given Belmont Park opens June 3. But wherever Brown takes his top horses this summer, expect Altaf to be in tow off this victory.
Of consideration, the Acorn (G1) for 3-year-old fillies at this same mile trip renews June 20 on the rescheduled Belmont Stakes undercard. Brown brought Guarana into the 2019 Acorn off a debut victory and won it going away.