Phantom Currency Takes Mac Diarmida, Antoinette Shines

Goldencents was a precocious horse who flourished in middle distances on dirt and synthetic, taking the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3) a 2 before in subsequent years adding the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

His son Phantom Currency needed more time and longer races to get a groove, not racing in stakes until his 4-year-old season. Now 5 and racing on turf, he has stepped up his game even further, notching his first black-type victory Feb. 27 with a three-quarter of a length victory over Tide of the Sea in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) at Gulfstream Park.

As he had in a previous win in a Jan. 13 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream, Susan and Jim Hill’s Phantom Currency took charge early on Saturday, which proved key in his mild upset of favored Tide of the Sea, frontrunning winner of the William L. McKnight Stakes (G3T). Phantom Currency was able to gain his preferred running position up front, while the former grew rank when the pace slowed passing the grandstand for the first time.

The duo then raced 1-2 virtually from start to finish in the 1 3/8-mile turf contest, and though Phantom Currency was headed midway down the backstretch, jockey Paco Lopez had enough to turn back Tide of the Sea and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. The winner, who carried 120 pounds, four less than the favorite, raced the distance in 2:13.84 on firm turf following splits of :49.08, 1:14.62 and 1:38.40.

“He wanted to run off a little bit the first quarter,” said Lopez. “The second quarter I got a hold of him and he got comfortable. I was on the rail and I waited. (Tide of the Sea) passed me a little bit but I was confident I had a lot of horse and in the stretch he got away from them.”

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Moon Over Miami rallied for third, edging fourth-place Temple, who hung after making a menacing bid in early stretch. Sir Sahib, Admission Office, Basha, and Aquaphobia completed the field of eight.

Winning trainer Brian Lynch, who also started Admission Office, said he was pleased to see Phantom Currency setting the pace.

“I’m very proud of him. He’s been an overachiever, this horse,” Lynch said. “He obviously likes this track and he’s very dangerous when he’s left alone.”

Antoinette Kicks Off Godolphin Roll
In other graded turf action at Gulfstream Saturday, Antoinette led from start to finish in the $125,000 The Very One Stakes (G3T) under Jose Ortiz.

The 4-year-old daughter of Hard Spun was part of a banner Saturday afternoon in the U.S. for owner/breeder Godolphin, who also won the Southwest Stakes (G3) with Essential Quality and the Razorback Handicap (G3) with Mystic Guide, both at Oaklawn Park.

While those horses used off-the-pace tactics to prevail, Antoinette used her speed to steal her race. She set splits of :23.98, :49.11 and 1:13.24 in the 1 3/16-mile turf race and quickened away from the opposition in the final stages of the race. She posted her fourth quarter in :23.43 to complete a mile in 1:36.67 and then ran her closing three-sixteenths in :17.03 for a final time of 1:53.70.

Belle Laura, third early, outfinished pace-chasing Sister Hanan by a neck to grab the runner-up spot. Tuned, War Like Goddess, Kalifornia Queen, Lovely Luvy, Bacchanalia, and Heavenly Curlin followed them across the wire in the field of nine.

Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Antoinette paid $9.20 as the slight favorite. She is one of two winners from the group 2-winning Elusive Quality mare Shuruq, who also produced the multiple stakes-placed Javanica (Medaglia d’Oro ). Javanica, second in the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3T) last year, was also runner-up vs. males this winter in the El Camino Real Derby in California.

Shuruq has an unnamed 2-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly and an unnamed yearling colt by Uncle Mo .

Antoinette was a stakes winner at 2 and 3 that also picked up top-level stakes placings last year in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T).

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