Undefeated Sunset Ridge aces two-turn test in Fleet Indian

Friday, August 25th, 2017

NYTB/Lauren King

By Sarah Mace

Chad Brown-trained Sunset Ridge (Algorithms), an undefeated homebred for Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables, was hammered down to five cents on the dollar to go two turns for the first time while making her stakes debut in the $200,000 Fleet Indian for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies on Friday. The chestnut did have to cope with some adversity, but ultimately gratified her many backers with an open-length victory.

Drawn in post two, Sunset Ridge stumbled after the bell and broke last under regular rider Jose Ortiz. Collecting herself, the chestnut settled in third at the rail while Somekindasexy assumed pacesetting duties, taking the field through an opening quarter in 24.19 and half in 48.22.

Early along the backstretch run, Sunset Ridge was boxed in – right behind the pacesetter and to the inside of main rival Bonita Bianca, but got herself in the clear by the approach to the far turn. Sunset Ridge then challenged Somekindasexy, took the top spot, and navigated the bend with Bonita Bianca pressing at her flank.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Opening up a little daylight, and clear by one length at the head of the lane, Sunset Ridge shook off her rival for good in upper stretch and cruised to the wire, winning by 6 1/4 lengths geared down. After six furlongs in 1:12.25 and a mile in 1:37.66, the final time for nine furlongs was 1:51.28. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Bonita Bianca was more than 15 lengths clear of Somekindasexy in third, followed by Danielle’s Pride and Five Each Way.

“She stumbled. When I got myself in the clear I rode her as the best horse,” said jockey Jose Ortiz. “I stayed patient, when they came at me with half a mile at the three-eighth pole, I knew it was just me and them, so I went with them, and I opened up on them.”

Ortiz continued, “The filly ran today, I can’t take all the credit, she’s a very nice filly, and in this spot, I mean one to nine? I knew she’d be great. Chad did a tremendous job with her as with all his horses, I’m just very happy I got to ride her first time out, and we kept winning together so, I’m just a passenger.”

“She is a very nice filly,” said Chad Brown. “She’s been a terrific horse for us. Her record speaks for itself. She’s a horse who has never disappointed us. She shows up and breezes well in the morning and shows up and runs well in the afternoon.”

When asked about his thinking before sending Sunset Ridge into her first two-turn test, Brown said, “I was curious to see if she’d handle the two turns. She always trained like would, but you never know until they do it.”

He continued, “She did well today, especially after missing the break and she had to be used a little bit and then got herself in a box there early on, I thought Jose [Ortiz] did a great job getting her out of a potentially bad spot and back in the clear. The filly did the rest.”

Brown is inclined to keep Sunset Ridge with her age group for now, but to try her against open company next time around. “At this point, I’ll discuss with the owner, John Clay, what the options are and then we’ll come up with a plan for her.”

According to Brown, Sunset Ridge had “little baby issues” that kept her from the races at two, but once she debuted at 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont April 23, the chestnut was virtually unstoppable, reeling off three straight wins by a combined 26 lengths. A winner at a mile at Belmont in her second start by eight-plus lengths, she added the extra furlong with ease in the Fleet Indian. On August 9, she won a 7-furlong allowance heat at Saratoga by an eye-popping 16 3/4 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 and attained TDN Rising Stardom.

Sunset Ridge, who was foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains and has earned $242,400 from four victories, is out of Cades Bay, a winning Kentucky-bred mare by Fusaichi Pegasus and a half-sister to graded stakes winner and multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed Voodoo (Petionville). Purchased by RBTS, agent at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale for $90,000 the mare was campaigned by Alpha Delta Stables before her broodmare career. Cades Bay has produced three winners from three foals to start, including Nevesian Sky, runner up in a state-bred allowance just two days ago on Wednesday.

The mare has since been sold in foal to First Samurai at the 2016 Keeneland November sale for $17,000. Following Sunset Ridge’s blowout Saratoga win, Clay’s advisor Reynolds Bell Jr. explained to the TDN, “We put the mare back through ring because we had this filly [Sunset Ridge] as a possible replacement for her.”

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