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Breeders' Cup 2017

Aqsaam Steps Up in Orchid

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

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.


The Kiaran 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.


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Older Comments about Aqsaam Steps Up in Orchid...

This filly is not to be believed! Watched her Jan. 29 run a 1 7/16 mi allowance race at Gulfstream. She led most of the way, regained the lead near the wire and then held to finish by ½. In her debut/maiden last Sept. at Saratoga, 7 furlongs, bad start, trailed until the final stretch and then she just mowed 'em down on the dirt, in the slop!!! (The race was to be run on grass, but, rain moved it to the dirt, and she just splashed her way as if it was her favorite surface!) Jan. 8, she ran a mile on the turf at Gulfstream, coming from the back nearly out of it altogether to win it going away! She is just amazing: turf, dirt, slop, sprint, middle distance or marathon, there doesn’t seem to be anything she can’t do! Where has this filly been hiding herself! Never raced at 2, just barely ran at 3 in a maiden race, and she looks like she could take on Secretariat! She has no inbreeding to the fifth generation! I can’t find any flaws in her. She's due for some stakes quality races. If she wins the upcoming Grade 3 Orchid, they better jump her up to some Grade 1s and then look out Breeders' Cup!

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