Holy Helena 'The One' in Gulfstream Park Graded Stake

03.03.2018 -

The transition to turf has apparently brought out the best in Holy Helena.

Watch The Very One Stakes

Already a Canadian classic winner, Stronach Stables' homebred filly added 'graded stakes winner' to her list of prefixes March 3 when she blew by favored pacesetter Daring Duchess just past the eighth pole to earn a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park.

Holy Helena's class had already shown itself on dirt and synthetic surfaces. She broke her maiden over the main track at Belmont Parklast May and went on to take the Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine two starts later. After wrapping up her sophomore season with a second-place run in the Ontario Derby (G3) last October, trainer Jimmy Jerkens opted to put the daughter of Ghostzapper on turf for her first two outings this year, and she rewarded her connections with back-to-back victories over the Gulfstream course.

"We always wanted to try (turf), and what better time than to try it here where you can train on it at Palm Meadows (Training Center)?" Jerkens said. "To win a race like the Queen's Plate in only her fourth start shows what kind of class she has. Being versatile like that ... she's just class from head to toe."

Similar to her victory in her first try on turf, a one-mile allowance test Feb. 4, Holy Helena got a ground-saving stalking trip Saturday. As Daring Duchess loped along on the front end past the wire for the first time and down the backstretch, Holy Helena bided her time in third under Irad Ortiz, Jr. as the former put up fractions of :24.28 and :49.73.

Letting a 6-5 favorite have things all her own way normally doesn't end well for the competition, and Daring Duchess indeed still had a one-length advantage to play with when she reached the top of the lane. After being shuffled back briefly to fifth as the pace quickened around the far turn, Holy Helena found racing room, tipped out in the stretch, and hit the afterburners when called The transition to turf has apparently brought out the best in Holy Helena.

Already a Canadian classic winner, Stronach Stables' homebred filly added 'graded stakes winner' to her list of prefixes March 3 when she blew by favored pacesetter Daring Duchess just past the eighth pole to earn a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park.

Holy Helena's class had already shown itself on dirt and synthetic surfaces. She broke her maiden over the main track at Belmont Parklast May and went on to take the Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine two starts later. After wrapping up her sophomore season with a second-place run in the Ontario Derby (G3) last October, trainer Jimmy Jerkens opted to put the daughter of Ghostzapper  on turf for her first two outings this year, and she rewarded her connections with back-to-back victories over the Gulfstream course.

"We always wanted to try (turf), and what better time than to try it here where you can train on it at Palm Meadows (Training Center)?" Jerkens said. "To win a race like the Queen's Plate in only her fourth start shows what kind of class she has. Being versatile like that ... she's just class from head to toe."

Similar to her victory in her first try on turf, a one-mile allowance test Feb. 4, Holy Helena got a ground-saving stalking trip Saturday. As Daring Duchess loped along on the front end past the wire for the first time and down the backstretch, Holy Helena bided her time in third under Irad Ortiz, Jr. as the former put up fractions of :24.28 and :49.73.

Letting a 6-5 favorite have things all her own way normally doesn't end well for the competition, and Daring Duchess indeed still had a one-length advantage to play with when she reached the top of the lane. After being shuffled back briefly to fifth as the pace quickened around the far turn, Holy Helena found racing room, tipped out in the stretch, and hit the afterburners when called upon on her way to covering the 1 3/16-mile distance in 1:54.67 over a course rated firm.

"Irad told me he was going to let her settle and save some ground, and that's what he did," Jerkens said. "He rode her perfect. Once she got clear, she exploded. She had been training really well. She even got better since her last race. She got a little stronger in her hind quarters. I saw it today. Leaving the paddock, I was pretty confident. I was going to be pretty devastated if she didn't show up."

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com
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