05/07/2016 7:06PM

Sea Calisi cruises to victory in Sheepshead Bay Stakes

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Tom Keyser
Sea Calisi, with Jose Ortiz up, wins the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Owner Martin Schwartz and trainer Chad Brown unleashed an extremely talented turf filly Saturday at Belmont Park in Sea Calisi, who made short work of her four rivals in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes.

Sea Calisi, a French-bred 4-year-old, was making her U.S. debut and her first start for Brown. She was purchased by Schwartz last May after her third start in France. In four starts for last year for Schwartz, Sea Calisi won the Group 2 Prix de Malleret at Saint-Cloud and finished a close third in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.

Schwartz and Brown won consecutive Eclipse Awards in the female turf category in 2012 and 2011 with Zagora and Stacelita, both of whom were imported from France.

“She has a magnificent turn of foot,” Schwartz said of Sea Calisi after the Sheepshead Bay. “It was a pleasure to see her turn of foot here today. It reminded me of Stacelita and brought back fine memories.”

Sea Calisi was ridden by Jose Ortiz, who won five races on the card and all three stakes, including the Westchester on Anchor Down and the Fort Marcy on Ironicus.

Sea Calisi was reserved by Ortiz while racing in last position in the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay through deliberate fractions of 25.47 seconds, 52.09, and 1:17.99. Ortiz didn’t move on Sea Calisi until midway on the far turn but when he did she looped the field effortlessly, opened a clear lead, and then coasted home while being geared down late.

Sea Calisi, who was making her first start since October and first on Lasix, paid $3.30. She was timed in 2:18.90 over yielding ground.

Guapaza, also trained by Brown, finished well to be second best after encountering trouble in upper stretch. Guapaza was bottled up along the inside entering the stretch, was taken outside horses, then had to be pulled off the heels of Selenite, who came out in front of her.

It was 2 1/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Robillard, who set the pace to the stretch.