01/14/2017 4:56PM

Sandiva repeats in Marshua's River

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Barbara D. Livingston
Sandiva, ridden by Javier Castellano, prevails by a half-length as the favorite in the Marshua's River.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.  -  Before heading to the breeding shed later this season, Sandiva had some unfinished business to attend to Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where she won the Grade 3 Marshua’s River for the second straight year with a half-length decision over Sea Coast.

Benefitting from a lightning-fast pace set by her uncoupled stablemate, Isabella Sings, Sandiva rallied wide off the final turn before wearing down the tiring leader to register her eighth victory in 23 career starts, three of those wins coming in graded races. Sea Coast raced well-placed, was out moved by the winner near midstretch, angled towards the rail, and won a nose bob from Isabella Sings to finish second.

Sandiva, a 6-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand, is trained by Todd Pletcher for Al Shaqab Racing. She was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano and paid $4.80 as the favorite in a field of seven older fillies and mares.

Sandiva, who completed 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course in 1:39.56, will be bred to Al Shaqab’s stallion Mshawish in 2017.

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Pletcher said he gave Sandiva some much needed time off following her ninth-place finish this past summer at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Diana. Sandiva returned to action here last month finishing second, beaten a neck, in the 7 1 /2-furlong South Beach.

“She needed a little freshening. She had a solid campaign and seemed like she was just a touch off form,” said Pletcher. “We knew that she loves Gulfstream and so we kind of intentionally freshened her up with these races in mind. She’s settled a little more, and we thought she was in good form, and after we saw that last race, we felt she was back to her old self. We’ll talk to team Al Shaqab and see if she’ll have one more run.” 

Pletcher said if Sandiva does start again, it would likely be in the Grade 3 Suwannee River on Feb. 11.