02/21/2016 6:49PM

Off the Tracks fires fresh in Margate Handicap

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Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photos
The 3-year-old filly Off the Tracks, with Tyler Gaffalione, remains undefeated with a 4 1/4-length score in the Margate Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Off the Tracks made a triumphant 3-year-old debut while keeping her perfect record intact, rallying to an impressive 4 1/4- length victory over Sugar Cone in Sunday’s $65,000 Margate Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Making her first start since winning the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga seven months earlier, Off the Tracks bumped at the break with Tap to It, recovered to race within easy striking distance of the pacesetting Ballet Diva, and then readily ran down the tiring leader to win going away.  Off the Tracks was ridden to victory by Tyler Gaffalione. He  replaced Edgard Zayas after Zayas took off his mounts on Sunday due to an injured ankle sustained in a spill here on Saturday.

Sugar Cone, idle since the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28, saved ground to the stretch, angled out for the drive, and narrowly outlasted Daddy’s Great Bay by a head to finish second. Tap to It, making her first start since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, bumped with the winner at the break, dropped back early, made a mild run to close contention approaching the stretch but lacked a further response. 

Off the Tracks, a 3-year-old daughter of Curlin, is trained by Roderick Rodriguez for the J Stables. She completed 6 1/2 furlongs over a fast track in 1:17.29 and paid $5.80.

“I was very impressed with her today,” said Rodriguez. “The track is so fast, I was afraid it was going to take a toll on her at the end. But she’s just an incredible filly. The sky is the limit with her.”

Rodriguez said Off the Tracks was not close to being 100 percent fit for her return.

“I try to use numbers with her,” said Rodriguez. “My owner asked me [how fit she was], and I said 70 percent. This is a stepping-stone to bigger and better things. We’ve got plenty of options, but we will probably try to stay home for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.”

Rodriguez said the ultimate goal for Off the Tracks in the months ahead is the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6.