Edited Press Release — Repole Stable’s Always Shopping, a graded-stakes winner on dirt last spring, continued her success story since being moved to the turf this summer by rolling to a second straight grass stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Via Borghese at Gulfstream Park.
The fifth running of the 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese for fillies and mares 3 and up served as a supporting stake to the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3), where Sleepy Eyes Todd bested a field that included Grade 1 winners Firenze Fire and Mind Control and defending champion Diamond Oops.
Always Shopping ($7.40) was the third win of the day for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and first in the Via Borghese for both Ortiz and trainer Todd Pletcher. The winning time was 1:54.34 over a firm turf course.
Ortiz settled Always Shopping in third as Traipsing broke sharply and took the field through moderate fractions of 24.31 and 50.11 seconds, tracked by 99-1 long shot Lady Panda. Always Shopping tipped to the outside on the turn and took over the lead once straightened for home, powering through the stretch to win by three lengths.
“It worked out perfect,” Ortiz said. “I thought I was going to sit second but [Traipsing] broke sharp and I didn’t want to use my horse to get position. So I stayed third. She was comfortable. I waited for the time to go and when I asked her she responded very well.”
Pletcher was impressed with the way Always Shopping finished up to earn her fourth career win and third in a stakes. She won the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle (G2) last April on dirt and the 1 1/16-mile Monroe Sept. 7 at Gulfstream in her second career try on turf.
“We anticipated [Traipsing] would be on the lead. I thought we might be laying second but Irad was in a comfortable spot and he said she was taking him wherever he wanted her to go throughout the race,” Pletcher said. “She really jumped in at the top of the stretch and kicked on hard. They weren’t going very fast early, but they were late.”
Great Island outran Always Shopping’s stablemate, Cap de Creus, to be second, but was disqualified for bearing out in the stretch and placed third behind Cap de Creus, ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
“I was delighted to get her stakes-placed. We’ve knocked on the door a few times, so that was big,” Pletcher said. “It looked like Johnny had to steady her pretty hard at one point but it was a good effort.”
Always Shopping now owns two wins from three tries over the Gulfstream turf and pushed her career bankroll over $400,000.
“She seems to like the course here,” Pletcher said. “There’s a great program of stakes here so we’ll look to keep her going in those.”