Shadwell's Zaajel leap-frogged over her allowance condition into graded stakes company for Saturday's GIII Forward Gal S., but the move proved no problem for the daughter of Street Sense. A runaway 7 1/4-length winner in her career debut going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Dec. 20, she had been posting a steady string of works since, including a sharp five-furlong move in a bullet :59.93 at Palm Beach Downs Jan. 23. The well-backed 3-5 choice to make it two straight here, she didn't make the greatest of exits, relegating herself to the back of field early. With Queen Arella (Speightster) showing the way following an opening quarter in :22.77, Zaajel worked her way into contention from her outside berth through a :46.03 half. Putting the screws to the tiring leader approaching the quarter pole, she held a slim advantage straightening for home, was about a length clear through much of the stretch and, despite showing the effects of her slow start late, she had enough to fend off 8-1 chance Lady Traveler by 1 1/4 lengths and the wire.
“She was misbehaving in the gate and she missed the break a little,” winning jockey Luis Saez. “After that, she just kept coming and everything went well, and she kept coming.”
Added Pletcher, “I was really pleased with the outcome. I was pretty concerned at the start. She got a little antsy in the gate and missed the break, and she put in a long, sustained run. That's hard to do, especially in her second start going from a maiden to a graded stake. But she's trained like a quality filly and she overcame some adversity today, so we're proud of her.”
Lightly-raced Asiya, a two-time winner for Shadwell and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, placed in a pair of stakes during her abbreviated racing career. A daughter of Shadwell's GI Cigar Mile winner Daaher, himself a full-brother to dual Grade I-winning Spun Sugar, Asiya's first foal Ajaaweed (Curlin) showed some promise at two winning his route debut in his second start before finishing a close-up second in the GII Remsen S. later that season. In his sole start at three, he finished third in last year's GIII Sam F. Davis S. In two subsequent seasons, the 11-year-old mare's foals failed to survive and she was bred to Blame on her latest cover.
FORWARD GAL S.-GIII, $100,000, Gulfstream, 1-30, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:24.72, ft.
1–ZAAJEL, 118, f, 3, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Asiya (MSP, $136,200), by Daaher
2nd Dam: Khalila, by Elusive Quality
3rd Dam: Indy Flash, by A.P. Indy
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN.
O/B-Shadwell Farm, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Luis Saez.
$60,140. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $84,140. *1/2 to Ajaaweed
(Curlin), MGSP, $139,850. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Lady Traveler, 118, f, 3, Quality Road–Ask the Question, by
Silver Deputy. ($350,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-West Point
Thoroughbreds, Ballantyne, John A., Freeman, William T. and
Valdes, Michael; B-Hidden Brook Farm, Candy Meadows LLC &
Chris Swann (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $19,400.
3–Wholebodemeister, 120, f, 3, Bodemeister–Wholelottashakin,
by Scat Daddy. O/B-Sabana Farm, LLC (KY); T-Juan Carlos Avila.
Margins: 1 1/4, HF, 3/4. Odds: 0.60, 8.90, 17.70.
Also Ran: Dial to Win, Coach Jer's Joy, Competitive Speed, Three Tipsy Chix, Queen Arella. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.