Gone since her runner-up unveiling Aug. 14 last season over Saratoga’s lawn, Root Cause (f, 3, Into Mischief–Vertical Vision, by Pollard’s Vision) showed no signs of rust to kick off her 2023 campaign here going nine furlongs over Gulfstream Park’s turf and earn a ‘Rising Star‘ nod. The heavy 1-5 favorite broke well but had to settle off brisk early speed to her outside in the opening stages. Locked behind a wall of horses when a rival claimed her hole on the fence going into the far turn, Irad Ortiz swung his filly wide into the stretch and it was over from there as she kicked into high gear. Sweeping by inner rivals, she cantered home with space between them as Settling Storm (Tonalist) picked up second. The final time for the nine panel maiden was 1:49.11.
Sales history: $375,000 ylg ’21 FTSAUG. O-Jeff Drown; B-Warran J. Harang; T-Chad Brown.
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