Ishaq just holds in Inaugural while Hidden Treat prevails in Sandpiper

December 19th, 2015

Tampa Bay Downs hosted Cotillion Festival Day on Saturday featuring three stakes, and taking center stage were a pair of two-year-old events readying juveniles for their upcoming sophomore seasons.

The $57,500 Sandpiper S. sending fillies six furlongs kicked off the stakes action in the 3RD race, and Hidden Treat proved best by a half-length under jockey Daniel Centeno. The Lemon Drop Kid miss raced between rivals early before making her move three wide on the turn.

Hidden Treat grabbed command and went on to stop the clock in 1:11.57 over the fast main track as 20-1 longshot A Little Attitude rallied at the end. That filly was 2 1/4 lengths up on 4-5 favorite Kandoo on the wire, while Conflate just missed third by a neck.

Hidden Treat is now two-for-two and has earned $52,800 after breaking her maiden debut in October at Laurel Park for trainer Arnaud Delacour. The bay filly is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Marashino Red, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning full siblings Spun Sugar and Daaher.

Later on Saturday, Ishaq just held by a neck as the 3-5 favorite in the $67,500 Inaugural S. with Pedro Cotto Jr. in the irons.

Ishaq opened up by four lengths in the lane but suddenly his blinkers came loose in the lane and the colt took a few awkward steps, allowing Formal Summation to offer a scare when coming fast on the outside. Ishaq showed his talent, though, kicking into gear once more when challenged to post a final time of 1:11.04 for the six-furlong affair. Jay’s Way and 111-1 Union Grace completed the top four.

Ishaq also opened up in his career debut at Tampa Bay Downs on November 28, but that time the bay son of Harlan’s Holiday continued extending his lead to score by 10 lengths. Making his stakes bow in this spot for trainer Efren Loza Jr., he boosted his earnings to $41,400 to go along with a two-for-two mark.

Loza indicated the $100,000 Pasco S. going seven furlongs on January 23 could be next for Ishaq, who will return to his trainer’s Gulfstream Park West base in the meantime.

Ishaq is out of the Irish-bred Elusive Moment, who is a half-sister to I’ll Get Along. That mare is best known for producing Eclipse Award, Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) winner Smarty Jones.

Also on Saturday, Richies Sweetheart took the lead right from the start of the $80,000 Lightning City S. and never looked back en route to a half-length victory.

Trained by Larry Rivelli and ridden by Dean Butler, who subbed for regular jockey E.T. Baird after he missed his connections to the Oldsmar oval, the Bring the Heat four-year-old miss sprinted five furlongs over the firm turf in :56.18 to earn her third stakes score. Riches Sweetheart is now 26-13-4-1, $522,014 in her career.

Hidden Treat, Ishaq and Richies Sweetheart photos courtesy of SV Photography


Daniel Centeno (jockey, winner Hidden Treat): “She has natural speed, and when she broke well I was able to get a good position on the backside. She got a little tired at the end, which is understandable since it was her first race on dirt, but when (A Little Attitude) got next to her she came back and started fighting again.

“She didn’t want to get beat today.”

Arnaud Delacour (trainer, winner Hidden Treat): “We wanted to try her on the dirt three weeks ago at Laurel, but the race didn’t go, so I told (owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables) ‘Let’s train her straight to (the Sandpiper) and see what happens.’ It worked out.

“She had done nothing wrong on the dirt in her morning training, so we thought we would take a shot.

“Danny said he might have had to make that move a little prematurely, but the horse on the inside (Kandoo) was starting to bring him out a little and he didn’t want to have a real wide trip.”


Pedro Cotto Jr. (jockey, winner Ishaq): “When I was warming him up before the race, he was more aggressive and more into the bit. Coming out of the gate, same thing. He came out real strong, and I think he can be something special.

“He completely lost momentum when the blinkers started flapping, and he veered out for two jumps. But when he saw those other horses, he re-broke. We were having problems with the blinkers in the gate, and they started coming off down the lane. I think he got a little scared and he was jumping back and forth, so I started screaming and yelling to keep him going."

Efren Loza Jr. (trainer, first Ishaq): “I think this is a horse that can go longer, so if the Pasco goes well, we’ll see if he can go two turns.”

Kathleen O’Connell (trainer, second Formal Summation): “He stepped back at the break and that left him a lot to do. But he ran big and that’s all you can ask.”


Dean Butler (jockey, winner Richies Sweetheart): “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was told to let her break, be chilly and ride her with confidence, and that’s what I did. When I asked her she kicked and went on with it. I was just along for the ride.”

Larry Rivelli (trainer, co-owner, co-breeder, winner Richies Sweetheart): “Dean has been the leading rider at Canterbury Park for a long time, and he’s a plenty capable jock. (E.T.) Baird has won a million races on her and knows her real well and she is a funny horse to ride. I just told (Butler) to ride her with confidence. That is the main thing about her, ride her with confidence. Don’t move, and always think you’re going to win no matter what. Once you start pumping and scrubbing on her, she starts tensing up.”