03/29/2014 5:04PM

Gulfstream Park: Anjaz proves uncatchable in Orchid

Barbara D. Livingston
Anjaz, who had been winless in four starts since coming to the United States, scores by 2 1/2 lengths under Rejiv Maragh in the Grade 3 Orchid.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Anjaz posted her first victory in five U.S. starts and did so impressively, leading throughout to  defeat Viva Rafaela by 2 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s, Grade 3  $150,000 Orchid at Gulfstream Park. Aigue Marine, the 9-5 favorite, finished  sixth.                                                                                                                                                                              Anjaz was transferred to trainer Tom Albertrani by Godolphin Racing following the conclusion of her 3-year-old campaign. She  launched her U.S. career in the 2013 Orchid, finishing fourth following a slow start. She started just three more times the remainder of the season, concluding the abbreviated campaign by finishing second in Saratoga’s Waya on Aug. 5.

Anjaz, surprisingly, sprinted right to the lead to control the pace under jockey Rajiv Maragh in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid. She set reasonable splits of  24.74 seconds, 49.18, and 1:14.17 for the opening six furlongs, repulsed a try from Viva Rafaela entering the stretch,  and was never seriously menaced thereafter.

Viva Rafaela, who figured to be on the lead after setting the pace for most of the Grade 3 The Very One in her previous start, rated off the leader, made a run at Anjaz turning for home,  but was not good enough. Clearbrook broke slow, recovered to race within striking position but lacked a final rally, finishing another 1 3/4 lengths farther back in third.

Both Aigue Marine and Inimitable Romanee, who won The Very One, failed to menace while encountering unlucky trips. Aigue Marine was taken back to last during the early stages, fanned extremely wide into the stretch,  and was never a factor. Inimitable Romanee, who conceded six pounds to her eight rivals, got bottled up in some traffic attempting to rally into the stretch and beat only the tiring Hunter Forward.

Anjaz, a daughter of Street Cry, completed the distance over a firm course in 2:24.70 and returned $12..  Albertrani was not in attendance, having saddled Twilight Eclipse several hours earlier in the Sheema Classic at Meydan in Dubai.