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OLDSMAR, FL – Don Alberto Stables’ Andina Del Sur was able to surge late between foes and get up just in time to steal Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.
After breaking from post 5 under Julien Leparoux, Andina Del Sur settled near the rear while Jehozacat and Closer Still battled up front through early fractions of :23.62, :48.74, and 1:12.87. Running three-wide through the far turn, Andina Del Sur stormed down the middle of the track and surged between Goodthingstaketime and Altea to win by a head in a thrilling three-way photo finish. The final time for the 8 1/2-furlong turf race was 1:42.37.
“We had a good pace in front of us and she settled very nice for me,” Leparoux said. “I was able to get her out in the straight and she had a good kick. (Altea) came up on our outside, so that helped her to get going again. She ran a big race. I think she is going to improve a lot from today.”
Goodthingstaketime was awarded second by a nose over Altea. 2 1/2 lengths behind the lead trio, Cash Out nosed out fourth over the favored Salsa Bella. Sixth went to Almond Roca, with Beckoning, Peach of a Gal, Souper Striking, and Closer Still completing the order of finish. In the midst of the early speed duel, Jehozacat lugged out down the backside and was eased up, but she walked off under her own power.
Andina Del Sur’s win was her first since her maiden-breaking debut on October 28, 2017, at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway finished third in each of her two subsequent starts, both stakes, for trainer Tom Albertrani.
“She’s been knocking at the door her last couple of races, and we noticed after her races that she has really been galloping out strong,” Albertrani said. “Her last race, she was maybe a little bit too keen for her own good, but today, Julien had her relaxed and in the right spot and got the right trip. It’s hard to say what’s next; we might try her on the dirt one day, but I’m glad to get this race out of the way, so we’ll just have to see how she comes out of it and find another date for her.”
Andina Del Sur returned $28.20 to win, $11.20 to place, and $5.80 to show. Goodthingstaketime brought back $8 to place and $5.60 to show, while Altea paid $3.20 to show.
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