02/13/2016 3:46PM

Penwith gets her stakes win in Royal Delta

Kenny Martin
Jockey Luis Saez hand rides Penwith to victory in the Grade 2 Royal Delta on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The race didn’t unfold exactly as trainer Kiaran McLaughlin thought it would for Penwith, but the result was perfect nonetheless.

Penwith stalked Best Behavior into defeat before drawing clear from favored Sandiva to earn her first stakes victory Saturday in the 30th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

McLaughlin thought Penwith and jockey Luis Saez would be sitting third in the field of five fillies and mares, but as the field straightened down the backstretch in the 1 1/16-mile race, Penwith was right alongside Best Behavior. Penwith took over with a quarter-mile to run, and Saez never even had to strike his mount with the whip.

“It worked out well,” said McLaughlin. “This was a big point for her, getting this graded black type. Now that we’ve got this, we’ll have to see what’s down the road for her.”

Penwith, bred and owned by Godolphin Racing, returned $8.80 as third choice after finishing in 1:43.16 over a fast track.

Sandiva, the 6-5 favorite who was making her dirt debut after 18 starts on grass, was compromised by a slow start before finishing three lengths behind the winner and another four lengths before Best Behavior, who was third. Gamblers Rose and Enchantress rounded out the order of finish.

Penwith, a 5-year-old mare by Bernardini, now has won five of 13 career starts and earned $404,365. She had narrow misses in stakes company both at 2 and 4.

The $2 exacta (4-5) paid $25.20, the $1 trifecta (4-5-6) returned $17.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-5-6-2) was worth $4.82.