01/01/2012 5:44PM

Gulfstream Park: Sacristy rallies to stay perfect on dirt in Old Hat Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Sacristy scores a 1 3/4-length victory over Say a Novena in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Sacristy remained undefeated since switching to dirt and became a stakes winner in the process, rallying from last to a 1 3/4-length victory over Say a Novena in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Sacristy finished a distant second in each of her first two starts, both of which came over synthetic surfaces at Arlington Park and Keeneland. Trainer Wayne Catalano switched Sacristy to dirt for the first time at Churchill Downs for her 2-year-old finale, where she rallied to an easy 6 3/4-length victory.

With regular rider Kent Desormeaux aboard, Sacristy dropped to the rear of the seven-horse Old Hat field but only four lengths behind pacesetter Bet to Win, who had easily defeated her when both launched their careers four months earlier in Chicago.  Sacristy commenced her rally leaving the backstretch, came four wide to overtake the leader in early stretch, and gradually edged away.

Say a Novena, making her first start since the Breeders’ Cup, also rated off the early pace before finishing willingly down the center of the track to wear down the tiring Bet to Win by a half-length to be second.

Sacristy, a daughter of Pulpit, is owned by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable. She completed six furlongs in 1:10.91 over a fast track and paid $4.60.

“I think it was more the development with her than the surface switch,” Catalano said. “She worked fast over the Polytrack, but had some issues in her first start. The way this filly trained over this track, I was pretty confident going into the race, but they’ve still got to go out there and do it. Based on the way she relaxed back there and her breeding, I think she’ll be able to go two turns.”

Catalano said Sacristy would likely make her next start in the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Forward Gal on Jan. 29.