‘Diamond’ Flawless as She Dusts Gallant Bloom Foes
By Jon Forbes | 09/22/2012 03:48 PM ET
Dust and Diamonds
Dust and Diamonds tracked the early pacesetter in second, took command straightening for home, and held sway in the stretch to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths in the Grade 2, $200,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Content to follow Roman Treasure through an opening quarter-mile in 21.82 seconds and a half in 44.49, Dust and Diamonds engaged and quickly dispatched the pacesetter at the quarter pole and was never threatened as Judy the Beauty chased her to the wire.
“She broke very sharp, as usual, and she was very relaxed the first quarter,” said winning jockey Julien Leparoux. “Then she just took me into the race and finished up strong.”
The final time of 1:14.71 for 6 ½ furlongs established a stakes record, with Dust and Diamonds returning $19.60 for a $2 win wager as the 8-1 fifth choice.
The Gallant Bloom marked the third straight win for Dust and Diamonds, who took an optional claimer by 4 ½ lengths on March 24 at Oaklawn Park and the Dashing Beauty Stakes by 5 ¾ lengths on July 21 at Delaware Park.
Dust and Diamonds’ victory in the Gallant Bloom, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race, guarantees her a spot in the starting gate for the Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita.
“We’ve spent a lot of time with her, and she’s done really well and blossomed here,” said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “[Asmussen and I] haven’t discussed [plans beyond this race]; we were just focusing on this race and this moment. We’ll see how she comes out of it and go from there.”
Dust and Diamonds, a 4-year-old, is 5-0-4 in nine starts and has earned $256,260, including $120,000 for her Gallant Bloom victory. The daughter of Vindication is a Padua Stables homebred.
Musical Romance, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner and reigning Champion Female Sprinter, finished 4 ½ lengths behind the winner and one length in front of fourth-place finisher and 6-5 favorite Turbulent Descent.
“Nobody made up any ground, and I kind of had to use her a little earlier than I wanted to,” said Turbulent Descent’s rider, Hall of Famer John Velazquez. “She came up with nothing, though. A little too much to make up. She seemed to handle the track well; she just was not there. I had to take her out of her game to catch up, and I think she didn’t like that.”
Roman Treasure, Emma’s Encore, C C’s Pal, and Island Bound completed the order of finish. Mildly Offensive and Risky Rachel were scratched.