News and STORIES

Romantic Pursuit Faces Solid Field In G2 Sands Point

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday October 11, 2019
Godolphin's Romantic Pursuit will be facing off against a solid field of seven sophomore fillies in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Sands Point on the Belmont inner turf on Saturday. The Sands Point is now in its 25th running. 

Three of the entries in the Sands Point include horses who ran in the New York Association's inaugural Turf Triple series. The entries include Romantic Pursuit, who came in fourth in the second leg of the Turf Tiara. The race was the 1 3/8-mile Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Saratoga Race Course on Sept. 7. 

In that race, Romantic Pursuit was able to set the pace early in the field of eight. She was eventually passed up by Edisa in the stretch, and she finished in second by two lengths behind. 

Romantic Pursuit, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, came into her stakes appearance with two consecutive wins. She also finished in either first or second in five races, which included her last performance at Belmont on July 5. She finished the 1 1/4-mile event in first by a quarter length. 

Better in Long Distances

According to McLaughlin, Romantic Pursuit is better off with longer distances. However, she has performed well at the distance of the Sands Point. She finished in second at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 7. 

"She's doing great and training very well," McLaughlin said. "She ran well last time, and we were proud of her. I would prefer if it was longer, but nine furlongs shouldn't be too much of an issue."

Romantic Pursuit is 2-3-1 in eight career starts. Her first three races were on the main track, and she eventually moved to grass, where she is 2-2-0 in five starts. Her last start was in the Jockey Clubs Invitational on softer turf. 

She maybe prefers it a little firmer, but she can handle the ground," McLaughlin said. "She'll be facing a quality field, but we think she should run well."

The Kentucky Homebred will be joined by jockey Dylan Davis as they break from post 6. 

Others in the Field

Trainer Chad Brown will have two horses running in the race: Olendon and New and Improved. Olendon, out of the Wonder Stables, Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Chris Mara, and Robert Masiello, ran in the opening two legs of the Turf Tiara. She finished eighth in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, which was her North American debut. She also finished fifth in her most recent race at Saratoga Oaks. 

She has won two of six starts in her country, and she is still searching for a board finish in North America. She will be breaking from post 2 with jockey Manny Franco aboard. 

New and Improved will be running in her first graded stakes race since the beginning of her career. She won her debut at one mile on July 28, and she finished fourth in the Riskaverse over yielding turf on Aug. 22. 

New and Improved was purchased for $320,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale. She will be breaking from post 5 with jockey Joel Rosario. 

The Tom Albertrani-trained Dyna Passer also ran in two legs of the Turf Tiara. In her stakes debut, she finished fifth in the Belmont Oaks. She then went on to finish third in the Jockey Club Oaks, where she received a career-high 84 Beyer Speed Figure. 

The Sands Point will be her shortest run since the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park on April 13, where she finished in third. On May 23 at Belmont, Dyna Passer broke her maiden, and a win on Saturday would be her first stakes. 

She will be breaking from post 1 with jockey Jose Lezcano.