Switzerland's impressive 3 1/2-length score in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint S. (G3) was the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old Speightstown colt, who is undefeated in four starts this year.
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The final time of 1:09.43 for the six furlongs over a very sloppy Pimlico surface was less than a half-second off the track record.
“He came into the barn a fast horse, and we’ve been able to maintain that,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I think the key to today’s race was him being able to get away with going 22 4/5 the first quarter.”
Switzerland was neck to neck with Red Dragon Tattoo in that first quarter, then began to pull away and was never in danger in the stretch as he came home under a hand ride.
“He’s a nice horse,” winning rider Rafael Santana added. “Steve told me the first time I rode him that he was going to be a special horse. Today he was really sharp, really in the bit. He broke good and I put him the spot I wanted. He showed his class.”
Switzerland has really blossomed this year, and is now 4-2-3 in 11 starts after upping his bankroll to $273,380 for Woodford Racing. Bred by Branch Family Trust, Switzerland is out of the multiple stakes winner Czechers.
Switzerland is Speightstown's sixth stakes winner this year, while his progeny have earned nearly $3 million to date in 2018.