Stakes Recap
Jun 6, 2021
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Chelsea Durand / NYRA Photo

Australasia remains perfect in $150K Jersey Girl

by Keith McCalmont

ELMONT, N.Y. – Magnifico Stable’s Australasia extended her win streak to six with a last-to-first charge under Joel Rosario in Sunday’s $150,000 Jersey Girl, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies at Belmont Park.

Trained by Brad Cox, who captured Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets with Essential Quality, the undefeated Louisiana-bred Australasia won a trio of restricted stakes in her home state before venturing to Churchill Downs last out to win a 6 1/2-furlong optional-claiming sprint on April 30.

Cox said he was impressed with the winning effort from Australasia in her New York debut.

“I’m not sure she’s a six-furlong horse. I think things have to set up for her to win going three-quarters. I think she’s more like middle distance,” said Cox. “I was uncertain she’d be able to compete outside the Louisiana-bred company. Obviously, she won the open ‘1X’ last time but at the stake level, when you cross the Hudson, the water gets deep. She was able to swim though, so I was proud of her.”

Miss Brazil, who scratched out of Saturday’s Grade 1 Acorn, broke through the gate before the start and after being re-loaded was off a step slow as Luis Saez sent Bella Sofia to lead the five-horse field through pressured splits of 22.55 seconds and 45.68 to the half-mile on the fast main track.

Bella Sofia and Miss Brazil battled it out down the lane, but Rosario tipped Australasia out wide in the stretch run and powered home a one-length winner in a final time of 1:09.19.

“She broke good and Brad told me to take my time with her,” said Rosario. “I had to tip her out a little bit and she came with a nice run at the end.

“She covered a lot of ground and was able to get there,” he continued. “For a second, I was worried they had gotten away from me and I wasn’t going to be able to get there, but she did it. It was a very good performance.”

Bella Sofia won the duel for second by a head over Miss Brazil. Decade and Dr B rounded out the order of finish. Shop Girl was scratched.

Saez said his filly dug in gamely to win the place battle.

“She was fighting hard with the other one, but the winner came flying on the outside,” said Saez, who piloted Essential Quality to victory in Saturday’s “Test of the Champion."

A $120,000 purchase at the 2020 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, Australasia is by Sky Kingdom and out of the Tiznow mare Ayala Strand.

She captured the 7 1/2-furlong Louisiana Jewel in January and the one-mile LA Bred Premier Starlet in February at Delta Downs ahead of a score in the Crescent City Oaks in March traveling a mile and seventy yards at Fair Grounds.

Cox said Australasia could try deeper waters at Saratoga Race Course this summer, targeting a potential start in the seven-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test on August 7.

“Maybe,” said Cox. “That could be a race where things could set up for her, too.”

Bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock and Hume Wornall, Australasia banked $82,500 in victory while maintaining her perfect record through six starts. She paid $10.60 for a $2 win ticket.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont with a nine-race card. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.

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