HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Gemswick Park survived a stretch-long battle with 4-5 favorite Elusive Heat and the undefeated Frolic's Dream to post a well deserved nose decision in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park.
Gemswick Park, the most experienced member of the field and the lone Grade 1 placed filly in the lineup, was turning back in distance to six furlongs off a pair of mile outings that included a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Tempted. A daughter of Speightstown, Gemswick Park rated just off the early pace of Elusive Heat under jockey John Velazquez, engaged for command turning for home and after gaining a slight lead near the sixteenth pole dug in gamely to maintain her advantage.
Elusive Heat, who posted a 103 Beyer Speed Figure winning her only previous start, broke in stride to set the pace, eased out slightly for the drive and fought on courageously once finally relinquishing command to the winner near midstretch. She finished a nose in front of the previously undefeated Frolic's Dream, who turned in a huge performance after being forced to ease back off the early leaders and then angle widest into the stretch.
Gemswick Park is trained by Tom Albertrani for the Melnyk Racing Stables. She covered six furlongs in 1:09.77 seconds over a fast track and paid $11.
"We tried to stretch her out and nurse her speed along in the Tempted and Frizette but she was too keen and had nothing left at the eighth pole," said Albertrani. "I knew she would be more effective going three-quarters. Down the backside it looked like she was in a good spot. I was just hoping she had something left for the stretch run and she did."
Gulfstream Park, 8th Race - Jan. 4, 2009