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Sahara Heat wire to wire at Woodbine


Darley Stable's Sahara Heat led throughout for a mile-and-one-sixteenth to win the Grade III Marine Stakes at Woodbine on Saturday under jockey Fernando Jara. The 3-year-old colt broke alertly from the inside post and quickly assumed the lead. He fought off a challenge at the quarter pole by one rival and held off another rival in the stretch to win by one-and-one-quarter lengths in the field of eight.

The Marine Stakes GIII was the third victory in a row from four starts this year for the A.P. Indy son. He began his sophomore season on January 31st at Gulfstream Park going a mile-and-one-eighth on the turf and finishing second, beaten just 3/4 length. He graduated in a Maiden Special Weight on the dirt on March 3rd at Gulfstream in a tenacious stretch duel in which he refused to yield the lead and won by a nose. He repeated that performance in an allowance event over Keeneland's polytrack on April 14th, defeating his entry mate No Reply by a head. His margin of victory appears to be widening as his races get tougher. The dark bay colt appears to be versatile over a variety of racing surfaces as well.

"He ran very well," said trainer Eoin Harty. "He has improved with every start and will be facing stiffer competition in his next start, which may be the Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Stakes GIII at Churchill Downs on June 16th."

Sahara Heat was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and was purchased at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $3.4 million. He is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sahara Gold.

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