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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Godolphin homebred Antoinette ended her 4-race streak of finishing third by finally returning a winner again in Sunday’s $500,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes.
Sent from post 3 under John Velazquez at 5/1 odds, Antoinette was forwardly-placed under her own power and raced ahead of the 3/2 favorite Enola Gay. With Enola Gay sitting behind her a bit in second, Antoinette ticked off opening fractions of :23.94 and :48.87, and 1:12.78.
Enola Gay ranged up to apply two-wide pressure and soon found Stunning Sky on her outside making a three-wide bid. The three straightened for home in a wall that blocked Speaktomeofsummer‘s rail attempt for much of the running.
Enola Gay gave way near the 1/8 pole, creating a match race between Antoinette and Stunning Sky. Fighting gamely along the inside, Antoinette crossed a 1/2-length ahead.
The Bill Mott trainee completed the 1 3/16-mile firm outer turf route in a final time of 1:53.30.
“There wasn’t much speed in the race,” Velazquez said. “I’d been taking this filly back every time she runs. She runs behind the horses on dirt or grass and I think she’s going to gallop, and when you let her go, she doesn’t pass the horses. Today, we sent her to the lead and got her to relax and she put up a good fight. I didn’t have to take a hold of her today. She opened up on the horses, but she fought with the horses. I wasn’t worried about the distance at all, I was worried about her putting her mind on running.”
Stunning Sky was 2 1/2 lengths clear of Key Biscayne, who took third by a 1/2-length and a nose over Speaktomeofsummer and Enola Gay, respectively.
Ricetta and Queens Embrace completed the order of finish.
Antoinette’s win was her first since last December’s Tepin Stakes at Aqueduct and ended a recent trend of finishing third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), the Gardenia Stakes, the Wonder Again Stakes (G3), and the CCA Oaks (G1). The 3-year-old Hard Spun filly now sports a record of 8-3-0-4 (spread evenly across turf and dirt) with $483,750 earned.
“She ran pretty well today and that was a nice purse,” Mott said. “Maybe there’s another one of those somewhere for us. The way she ran today, I’d say maybe we run on turf (in the future), but the good thing about her is she can do either.”
Antoinette returned $12 to win, $5.60 to place, and $4.20 to show. Stunning Sky brought back $5.80 to place and $4.20 to show, while Key Biscayne paid $8 to show.
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