Grand Sonata Leads 1-2 Pletcher Finish In Dania Beach; ‘Field Filler’ Alittleloveandluck Takes Ginger Brew – Horse Racing News

Grand Sonata Leads 1-2 Pletcher Finish In Dania Beach; ‘Field Filler’ Alittleloveandluck Takes Ginger Brew – Horse Racing News

The photo-finish ending to Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park was one that trainer Todd Pletcher never had to sweat. That’s because the one-two finishers — Grand Sonata and Chanceux — are both in the care of the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track’s leading trainer each of the past 18 years.

“I felt bad for the other horse, though,” Pletcher said of front-running Chanceux after Grand Sonata nipped his stablemate at the wire in the one-mile turf stakes. “He ran his heart out. Just got nailed the last jump. But both horses ran great.”

Under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Grand Sonata put in a determined bid in late stretch to barely get past Chanceux.

“He’s got a tremendous turn of foot, so we were relying on that,” Gaffalione said. “I could tell around the turn I had a ton of horse.”

Jockey Luis Saez sent Chanceux through soft opening fractions and nearly had enough left in the tank at the end to prevail. But Grand Sonata was just a tick better, closing late to get his head in front at the wire for his first stakes win.

Grand Sonata, a 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro and owned by Whisper Hill Farm LLC, was coming off a troubled fifth-place effort Nov. 27 in the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct.

“He had a really rough trip last time at Aqueduct,” Pletcher said. “It cost him. He was stuck down inside and couldn’t get extricated until late.”

Pletcher said he has no immediate plans for Grand Sonata and didn’t dismiss the possibility of putting him back on dirt in his next start. The colt broke his maiden on the dirt at Keeneland in October.

“It’s something we’ll look into,” Pletcher. said. “I just think, as a young horse, he’s been a little better on the turf. But he’s got a dirt pedigree and at some point we might step out. They’ve also got a great turf program here, so you hate not to take advantage of it.”

Alittleloveandluck kicks in late to capture $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes
Alittleloveandluck was both good and — and just a little lucky — on Saturday in winning the $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

That’s because owner and trainer Mike Dini never intended to race the 3-year-old filly in the mile turf stakes and did so only because the track racing office talked him into it in order to fill the race.

“They were short on horses,” Dini said.

Dini’s good fortune paid off in the form of the gray filly’s 1half-length victory over Ocean Safari. Even-money favorite Opalina was third in the field of seven. Jockey Paco Lopez gave the filly a ground-saving trip before powering past four horses in the stretch for the win.

Dini felt Alittleloveandluck was destined for turf racing but began to have his doubts when the Florida-bred daughter of Arrogate failed to hit the board in either of her first two career turf starts.

She broke maiden on Nov. 12 at Gulfstream in what was his fourth career start, and first on Tapeta.

When the Gulfstream racing office called to see if he would try her once again on turf in the Ginger Brew, Dini figured why not?

“I said, well, I might as well try her one more time on the grass with a short field,” Dini said.

Now, Dini said he intends to keep her on grass, at least for the time being.