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Anisette won the 2023 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita Park, stretching back out to score her 2nd career Grade 1 victory.
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Freshened since a disappointing effort on Nov. 5, English-bred Anisette was back to her best on Tuesday at Santa Anita, as she loomed into contention turning for home and powered past a very well meant Be Your Best to take the Grade I, $300,000 American Oaks by 1 ¾ lengths, getting a mile and one quarter on turf in 2:00.22.
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Trained by Leonard Powell and ridden by Umberto Rispoli, who got his second win of the day, Anisette saved ground at the rail while about 3 ½ lengths off pacesetting Be Your Best in the run up the backside while a joint third with Sakura Flavor. Coming to the quarter pole, Rispoli scooted inside of Musical Mischief and had Be Your Best measured turning for home en route to her second Grade I score dating back to victory in the Del Mar Oaks three starts back on Aug. 19.
Most recently second as the odds-on favorite in the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes here Nov. 5, Anisette was off at 3-5 in a field of five sophomore fillies and paid $3.20, $2.80 and $2.10.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Anisette, who was one for three in England, notched her fourth win from six starts since joining Powell’s stable—two of them in Grade I stakes. With today’s winner’s share of $180,000, Anisette increased her earnings to $606,871.
Be Your Best, the narrow third choice under Irad Ortiz, Jr. at 7-2, paid $2.80 and $2.10.
Musical Mischief, second to the top of the lane under Flavien Prat, was the actual second choice at 7-2 and paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.76, 48.88, 1:13.08 and 1:36.66.
UMBERTO RISPOLI, ANISETTE, WINNER: “First of all I have to say thanks to Leo, Aron Wellman and all the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners for the opportunities. It’s a pleasure to be on a filly like this. She gave me two Grade I’s this year. I think she is back at the top like she was in Del Mar with that kick. We knew she had it. The two starts ago she was beat by Didia, then her last time out the race was falling apart with the horses running away from her. Today, was a tactical race again, but I just stayed a couple of lengths behind the speed, and she did the rest.”
LEONARD POWELL, ANISETTE, WINNER: “Her last two races, she didn’t win, but there were circumstances. I didn’t blame her and she made amends today. She’s been a part of the exacta for six straight races (four wins and two seconds).“She’s the goods. Aron Wellman and I have chosen to give her plenty of time in between races and that’s probably the key of keeping her at the top of her game. She is happy and healthy so that is the main thing.”
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