From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Shadwell Stable’s Zaajel, a striking bay 3-year-old filly by Street Sense, stepped up from a maiden victory in her debut to a graded victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Forward Gal (G3).
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez, Zaajel took the lead entering the stretch from pacesetter Queen Arella to win the Forward Gal by 1 ¼ lengths. Lady Traveler, making her first start since the Golden Rod (G3) in November, closed for the place and Wholebodemeister finished third.
Zaajel covered seven furlongs in 1:24.72. The filly broke her maiden Dec. 20 at Gulfstream by 7 ¼ lengths.
Queen Arella went to the front in the Forward Gal and posted an opening quarter in :22.77 and a half in :46.03 before Zaajel, who broke second to last, cruised to the front entering the stretch under Saez and held safe to the finish.
“She was misbehaving in the gate and she missed the break a little,” Saez said. “After that, she just kept coming and everything went well, and she kept coming.”
“I was really pleased with the outcome. I was pretty concerned at the start. She got a little antsy in the gate and missed the break, and she put in a long, sustained run,” Pletcher said. “That’s hard to do, especially in her second start going from a maiden to a graded stake. But she’s trained like a quality filly and she overcame some adversity today so we’re proud of her.”