Edited Gulfstream Staff Release – Repole Stable and Town and Country Racing’s Cairo Consort paid immediate dividends for her new connections, surging past Erna in mid-stretch and holding off a late challenge from Stephanie’s Charm to win Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Brew at Gulfstream Park.
The 12th running of the Ginger Brew for fillies was the second of two one-mile turf stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds following Candidate’s front-running victory in the $100,000 Dania Beach.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, both named Saturday as Eclipse Award finalists for 2022, Cairo Consort ($3) completed the distance in 1:35.80 over a firm turf course as the 1-2 favorite.
She was purchased for $875,000 last fall following a juvenile campaign where she won two of six starts including the Catch a Glimpse, also running second in the Natalma (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
“Everything we had done with her had been on the dirt, so we were kind of knowing we have a turf filly and watching her train on the dirt,” Pletcher said. “She trains fine on the dirt, but clearly she’s better on the turf. I felt like we had her ready enough to go and we didn’t want to overdo it. It’s the first race of the year, and we were happy with the outcome.”
Reluctant to load in the starting gate, Cairo Consort broke well and raced in fourth as 40-1 long shot Showgirl Lynne B, a stakes winner on the Tapeta last summer at Gulfstream, was in front from the rail through splits of 23.15 and 47.75 seconds pressed by Erna, making her stakes debut, and Isabel Alexandra.
“I could tell when she came to the paddock she was on her toes a little bit, but we’ve done some work with her at the gate in the mornings. We’ve seen a hint of that, but not that, so we’ll have to work on that a little more,” Pletcher said.
“You hate to see one get fractious behind the gate like that, but once she got in the gate she stood nicely and broke well and kind of got in the position that Irad and I talked about her getting to,” he added. “It was a pretty smooth trip from there.”
Cairo Consort, kept in the clear by Ortiz, began to range up to the leaders around the turn on the outside but still had work to do once straightened for home with Erna having inherited the top spot. Set down for a drive, the Cairo Prince filly reeled in Erna inside the eighth pole and surged again when Stephanie’s Charm, sent off at 11-1, came with her bid.
“It was a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “She was close to the leaders and then a took a hold and she relaxed real well behind horses. At the three-eighths pole I asked her to start going forward and she did. She responded every time I asked her. Turning for home, she opened up by a half-length and then when she felt the horse outside, she was there. She had a little more in the tank.”
Cairo Consort crossed the wire a half-length ahead of Stephanie’s Charm, with Navy Goat another 1 ¼ lengths back in third. Erna held on by a neck over Isabel Alexandra for fourth, and they were followed by Showgirl Lynne B, Lady Azteca and Bel Pensiero. Anna Karenine was scratched.
“It was interesting talking to Irad afterward. He said he felt like he had a lot more horse and she kind of idled a little bit when she made the lead,” Pletcher said. “When that horse came to her she had a little more.”
Next up for 3-year-old fillies on the grass at Gulfstream is the $175,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) going 1 1/16 miles Feb. 4
“They have a nice series here so we’ll probably look at the next one,” Pletcher said. “We’ll see. We can always skip one and go to the next one. We’ll play it by ear and see how she comes out of it.”