Savory triumph for Sweet Whiskey in Grade 3 Old Hat S.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
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Sweet Whiskey, from Old Fashioned's newly turned 3-year-old crop, got her sire off to a terrific start in 2014 with a 2 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Old Hat S. (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Old Fashioned finished in the top 10 on the 2013 Freshman Sire list in several categories, including number of winners, stakes horses, stakes winners; as well as in the auction ring with a yearling average of $49,071. He will stand the 2014 season at Taylor Made for $8,000 LFS&N.

Sweet Whiskey, who placed in the Grade 2 Matron S. at Belmont in August, overcame her post, an adversarial trip, and a 3 ½-month layoff to win in the Old Hat, running the six furlongs in 1:10.63.

Breaking from the rail, the normally speedy Sweet Whiskey, found herself boxed in behind horses soon after the gates sprang open. Javier Castellano bided his time down the backstretch and around the turn before sneaking through along the rail in upper stretch to secure a lead he would never relinquish.

“She was kind of in a situation she hadn’t been in before, on the inside and in behind horses, and I thought she handled it really well,” said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “She took the dirt great and had plenty left when the time came.”

“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano echoed. “You know, she’s usually on top but today she broke a little inside. Instead of rushing her up I decided I wasn’t going to panic. I just relaxed and let her settle. She was fine. Then I found a hole around the quarter pole and she ran right to the lead after saving all the ground. It worked out great.”

As far as the next outing for the Alto Racing LLC colorbearer, Pletcher said. “We’ll just have to see how she does and whether running back in the Forward Gal (G2, $200,000, Jan. 25) makes sense or not.”

Sweet Whiskey was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and sold by Eddie Woods, agent for $300,000 at the 2013 OBS Select 2-year-old Sale in March.