Tequilita Successful in Forward Gal
By: EverythingEQ News Team
Racing, with Tequilita, is a family affair. The three-year-old Union Rags filly won the $200,000 Gr. 2 Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park by half a length over Grade 1 winner Pretty City Dancer on Saturday, February 4, keeping up the winner’s circle tradition for her connections.
Trainer Michael Matz saddled Tequilita for his wife, owner/breeder Dorothy Alexander Matz. Additionally, he trained the filly’s sire, 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, and the her dam, grade 2 winner Sangrita, by Mr. Greeley.
“It’s great [because] you know the family. We’ve sort of figured out her running style and where she wants to break,” Matz said. “For a while she was showing too much speed and now I think we went from a mile to six [furlongs] and back to seven [furlongs], if we want her to go longer we can get her to sit still and then make a nice run. I think she’s still figuring out what she’s supposed to do.”
Tequilita broke from post number 2 under jockey Luis Saez and settled back in fourth while the favored Ms Locust Point rocketed to the lead, taking the field through fractions of 22.53 and 45.45. Bode’s Dream and Wildcat Kate tracked behind her in second and third but could not maintain those positions past the half. Saez gave Tequilita the signal to go on the turn and the pair moved four wide to gain the lead. Pretty City Dancer launched her own rally outside Tequilita, but the Spinaway Stakes winner could not overtake the eventual winner, who hit the wire a half length ahead. The final time for the seven furlong contest over the fast track was 1:24.36.
“She’s worked real well,” Matz said of his charge. “She’s done everything we’ve asked her to do. She’s got a good disposition. She’s just a nice filly.”
Tequilita broke her maiden in her home state of Kentucky at Keeneland on her fourth try last fall, and capped her freshman year off with a win in the six-furlong Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park in November. Saturday’s victory improved Tequilita’s record to three wins from six starts, totaling $240,040 in earnings and averaging $40,007 per start.
Matz said that he is not sure what will come next for his latest winner. “Obviously we’d like her to go two turns,” he stated. “She’s starting to relax more and more each race, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
The Gr.2 Forward Gal Stakes is a Kentucky Oaks prep race awarding points to its top four finishers. Tequilita earned 10 points for the win and currently ranks 11th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard behind top fillies Champagne Room (1), Daddys Little Darling (2), and Unique Bella (3).