12/08/2012 5:34PM

Gulfstream Park: Dust and Diamonds takes Sugar Swirl in first start for Pletcher

Kenny Martin
The filly Dust and Diamonds, ridden by John Velazquez, pulls clear of her competition in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Dust and Diamonds earned back $60,000 of her $900,000 purchase price at last month’s Fasig-Tipton sale with a 2 3/4-length victory over Golden Mystery in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park.

Dust and Diamonds was purchased at auction by Stud TNT just two days after finishing second behind likely Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare sprint. Dust and Diamonds, who had been trained by Steve Asmussen prior to the sale, was subsequently turned over to Todd Pletcher and shipped to Palm Meadows to prepare for the Sugar Swirl and her upcoming 2013 campaign.

Dust and Diamonds prompted the early pace of Honey Chile while kept well off the rail by jockey John Velazquez during the early stages of the Sugar Swirl. Dust and Diamonds edged clear while remaining a bit wide into the stretch, repulsed a bid from Golden Mystery through midstretch, and won going away.

Golden Mystery was easily second best, finishing 1 3/4 lengths clear of her uncoupled stablemate Nakano. Sacristy, Honey Chile, and Hearts of Red rounded out the complete order of finish.

Dust and Diamonds completed six furlongs in 1:08.66 and paid $3.00.

“It looked like Johnny was just trying to get her to settle a little the first part and take advantage of a good post position by keeping her outside down the backstretch,” said Pletcher, who watched the race from New York. “He just wanted to get her to relax a little and save what he could and it worked as she finished very well.”

Pletcher said he was very pleased with Dust and Diamond’s performance in her first start since the Filly and Mare Sprint.

“You’re always a little concerned in the first start back after the Breeders’ Cup but I don’t know how much more she could have done going in 1:08 and three and winning in a hand ride,” said Pletcher. “This should set her up nicely for the series of sprint races they have here this winter.” Pletcher said Dust and Diamonds would likely make her next start in the six-furlong, Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie on Feb. 10.