June 24, 2024

Didia rebounds with new tactics in Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf

Dida wins the Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park
Didia wins the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Lauren King)

Uncharacteristically lackluster in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in her latest, Merriebelle Stable’s Didia was back to her best in Saturday’s $485,600 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The former Argentine champion took up a closer pace-prompting role with new rider Jose Ortiz, and parlayed her handy position into victory by a neck.

If Didia’s change of tactics was unexpected, the bigger surprise was that speedy Ruby Nell never tried to get to the lead. Instead, Accomplished Girl was intent on setting the pace, and Didia was lapped right onto her flank through fractions of :24.88, :48.62, and 1:12.01. Ruby Nell was drafting just behind them – a fine spot for a stalker, but not for a filly whose chief weapon was surrendered out of the gate.

Turning into the stretch, Didia collared Accomplished Girl and got the jump on the closers. The 26-1 Surprisingly speared through on the rail to cut it close, but Didia held her at bay under good handling. The Ignacio Correas mare negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.90 and returned $8.60 as the slight 3.30-1 favorite.

“I told Jose to be close and don’t leave her that much to do,” Correas said. “He was a bit closer but when I saw that the pace was not that fast, I was very happy with where she was. I thought if she got beat, it was going to be if she beat herself. She had everything in her favor.

“I think that probably she’s better than I ever imagined. She can do whatever.”

Surprisingly delivered a solid performance in her debut for Todd Pletcher.

“She closed really well,” Pletcher said of Repole Stable’s $1 million acquisition at Keeneland in November. “The fractions were pretty soft. She was at a disadvantage. I’m pleased with her effort.”

Ruby Nell boxed on in a one-paced third, edging the rallying Fluffy Socks and Mission of Joy in a blanket finish for the bottom rungs of the exotics.

“She got away from the gate a little bit too relaxed,” trainer Richard Mandella said of Ruby Nell. “I guess I put her to sleep with my training. We’re going to have to set the alarm clock better next time. With that pace, she should have been cruising right along. Hey, I’m happy to be third.”

Next came Chili Flag, Sister Lou Ann, Accomplished Girl, Queen Goddess, Cairo Consort, and 3.40-1 second choice Star Fortress, whose rough trip wasn’t enough to explain her regression from her U.S. debut. Full Count Felicia and also-eligible Be My Sunshine were withdrawn.

Now a millionaire with earnings of $1,074,109, Didia boasts a stellar record of 15-10-2-0, including victories in the 2023 Rodeo Drive (G2), Modesty (G3), and Tom Benson Memorial; the 2022 Old Nelson S.; and three Group races in her homeland, notably the 2021 Enrique Acebal (G1) and Copa de Plata (G1). The daughter of Orpen won seven straight until her skein ended in the June 9 New York (G1), where she did well to take second in an adverse race shape. Her only other stateside loss was her non-threatening 10th in the Breeders’ Cup behind transatlantic champion Inspiral.

Bred by La Manija in Argentina, Didia is a full sister to multiple Group 1-placed Dedini, Singaporean champion Davide, and Delirada, the dam of Argentine Horse of the Year Tetaze. Didia and her siblings were all produced by the Group 1-placed Delambre, a daughter of Rainbow Corner from the family of Brazilian champions Pitu Da Guanabara and Agasias.