07/13/2013 4:51PM

Gulfstream Park: Dreaming of Sophia successfully handles wet track and two turns

Leslie Martin
Dreaming of Sophia cruises home in the Cellars Shiraz Stakes under Fernando Jara.

Dreaming of Sophia had never raced on a wet track or run beyond six furlongs in her career entering Saturday’s $75,000 Cellars Shiraz Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Apparently it didn’t matter.

Despite facing obstacles she’d never encountered before, Dreaming of Sophia cruised to an extremely impressive 6 1/2-length victory over 8-5 favorite Swinger’s Party in the 1 1/16-mile Cellars Shiraz, a race originally scheduled to be run over the turf.

Dreaming of Sophia, a 3-year-old homebred daughter of Lewis Michael owned by Frank Calabrese, was coming off a troubled second-place finish behind Wildcat Lily in the six-furlong Leave Me Alone Stakes. Wildcat Lily flattered the effort last weekend by returning to win the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes.

With Fernando Jara aboard, Dreaming of Sophia stalked the early pace of Love to Score, rallied between horses entering the stretch, quickly drew well clear nearing the furlong grounds, then extended her advantage to win with something left. Swinger’s Party attempted to move three wide with the winner leaving the final turn, proved no match but was easily second best, finishing 2 1/2 lengths clear of the tiring Love to Score.

Dreaming of Sophia was timed in 1:45.70 over the sloppy track and paid $7.20.

“She surprised me,” said trainer Kirk Ziadie. “I thought she was going to come up a little tired, but I guess she has so much class that she ran away with it.

“We always knew she wanted to go longer, we really did, but I trained her for hard, fast turf. I thought I did enough, but when the track came up like this, I thought the last sixteenth she was going to come up a little tired. But she didn’t. She proved she was much the best.”