Final Mesa began her three-year-old season in style on Wednesday, capturing the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (G3) by 1 3/4 lengths on opening day of the Gulfstream Park winter-spring live meeting.
The bay Sky Mesa filly, a two-time stakes winner entering the six-furlong race for owner and trainer Wesley Ward, raced for the first time since finishing a disappointing sixth of seven in the Sorrento Stakes (G3) on August 6 at Del Mar.
“I think she’s a special filly,” Ward said. “She might not have liked the track at Del Mar the only time she got beat. I was between taking her there or Saratoga [Race Course], but at the time, I thought her two races on synthetic tracks were even better than her one race on dirt. I like to give my horses six to seven weeks between races. So we’ll look for something here, probably two turns.”
Final Mesa, under jockey Joel Rosario, broke well, pressing pacesetter It’s Me Mom three wide through a quarter-mile before taking over at the quarter-pole and edging away to the victory, covering the distance in 1:09.75 on a track rated as fast.