12/19/2015 2:16PM

Hidden Treat wins Sandpiper Stakes to stay perfect

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Hidden Treat and jockey Daniel Centeno score by a half-length in the Sandpiper Stakes on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Hidden Treat successfully handled the transition from turf to dirt and the class hike into stakes company Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, taking the $57,500 Sandpiper Stakes by half a length over A Little Attitude. The six-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies was the first stakes of the meeting here and is among three stakes on Cotillion Festival Day.

Hidden Treat, a homebred for Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables, had raced just once prior, winning a $41,320 maiden special weight race going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Laurel Park turf in October. The daughter of Lemon Drop Kid was favored in that race but paid $16.20 in the Sandpiper as the fifth choice in the field of eight.

With Daniel Centeno aboard Saturday, Hidden Treat broke with the dueling leaders Old Valyria and Kandoo and settled into third through a quarter-mile in 22.77 seconds. She challenged for the lead around the turn, sticking a head in front after half a mile in 45.94 seconds, and then had enough left down the stretch to hold off A Little Attitude, stopping the clock in 1:11.57.

“We thought that she could handle the dirt, and she had a very good breeze five days ago here, so I thought that we’d take a shot,” said winning trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “We knew that she had the speed. The question was, could she handle the dirt? And she did.”

“She broke really well and got a good position on the backside,” Centeno added. “She got a little tired at the end, which is understandable in her first time on the dirt, but she never gave up. She ran big. She didn’t want to get beat today.”

Delacour said he hasn’t picked out a spot for Hidden Treat’s next start. One option is the $100,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs here Jan. 23. 

“I have to see how she comes back and see what kind of number she ran,” he said. “She has a lot of speed, but it looks like she can rate a little bit. I think she can sit off the pace, so maybe she can go a bit farther. We’ll see.”

Hidden Treat earned $30,000 for the win to increase her earnings to $52,800 through two starts.