Jockey Drayden Van Dyke continued his stakes winning ways over the Santa Anita lawn with a nose victory aboard in Queen of the Sand (IRE) in Saturday’s Santa Barbara Handicap (GIII).
Van Dyke and his mount were squeezed coming out of the gate and were content to be in next to last while Fanticola carved out easy fractions on the front end. Queen of the Sand saved ground every step of the way in the 1 ¼ miles turf event. At the top of the stretch Van Dyke was able to guide his mount through a narrow hole three paths off the rail to gain clear sailing. Fanticola and jockey Joe Talamo kept the rail shut off for Three Hearts and appeared to have the race won until Queen of the Sand launched her last second heroics.
When Queen of the Sand got clear and started to run down the leader, she began to drift in and, in a race winning move, Van Dyke switched to a left handed whip which kept his mount from lugging in on the leader.
A ground saving ride, a gutsy move to find open ground, and a split second decision to switch sticks led to a nose victory and a well-deserved Ride of the Week award.
Follow Drayden on Twitter @DraydenV