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Sacristy remains perfect on dirt in Old Hat

  • Sacristy (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Peachtree Stable's Sacristy, a smashing Churchill Downs maiden winner in her first opportunity on dirt, followed up promptly in her stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Wayne Catalano and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the 6-5 choice unleashed a powerful rally down the stretch and drew off by 1 3/4 lengths. The newly-minted sophomore took 1:10 4/5 to complete six furlongs on the fast track, returning $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40.

The early pace was hotly contested. Sabrina's Dance and Bet to Win argued through an opening quarter in :22 1/5, with Quick Flip pressing on the outside. Bet to Win began to win the pace war and reached the half-mile mark in :45.

Meanwhile, Sacristy was patiently handled toward the rear of the field, trailed only by Say a Novena. Sacristy crept closer on the far turn, accosted Bet to Win once straightening into the stretch, and surged clear inside the final furlong.

"This is what it's all about: moving these young horses forwardly," Catalano said, explaining his decision to go straight into a graded stakes off a maiden win. "She was taking a step forward and we thought she might make it. She was training like she would.

"She was only three lengths out of it (early). I told Kent, 'Let her break sharp and see what happens.' Let the race unfold for him. He knows what to do, that's why I got him up there. We all know what kind of rider he is."

"She was just spot-on today," Desormeaux said. "Her eyes were bugging out of the bridle. You could tell she wanted to be a racehorse when she was warming up."

Say a Novena finished with interest late to complete the all-ecclesiastical exacta, edging Bet to Win by a half-length. Quick Flip reported home fourth, followed by Awesome Belle, Soft Whisper and Sabrina's Dance. Yara was scratched.

Sacristy's resume now reads 4-2-2-0, $104,712. The well-named daughter of Pulpit opened her career with two runner-up efforts on Polytrack, where she was beaten nine lengths on each occasion. Bet to Win dusted her in their mutual debut at Arlington Park on September 11, but was no match for Sacristy in their rematch on dirt in the Old Hat.

In Sacristy's second start at Keeneland on October 14, she ran into a buzzsaw in Applauding, who is currently one of the leading fillies wintering at Fair Grounds. Sacristy moved up markedly once getting off Polytrack and onto the dirt at Churchill, running away with a November 10 maiden by 6 3/4 lengths in her prior start.

Bred by Elisabeth Alexander in Kentucky, Sacristy was purchased by Peachtree's John Fort for $125,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. The dark bay is the first registered foal from the stakes-placed Belong to Me mare Christies Treasure, and she hails from the family of Grade 1 winner Purge, Grade 2 scorer Valid Wager and multiple Grade 1 queen Jersey Girl, the dam of Grade 1 victor Jersey Town.

Catalano said that Sacristy will likely run next in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream on January 29.

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