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ARCADIA, CA – Despite just a single start sprinting under her belt, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s Soothsay stretched out strongly and held off 4/5 favorite Beautiful Gift late to win Saturday’s $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2).
Soothsay broke from post 3 under Flavien Prat as the 4/1 third choice in the field of 3-year-old fillies that saw only four enter the gate after Brilliant Cut scratched.
Moraz set opening fractions of :24.34 and :49.04 before Prat made a surprising mid-race move to take the lead, a decision that may have made the difference as she got the jump on Beautiful Gift.
Though she drifted a bit in the stretch, Soothsay held off Beautiful Gift by a 1/2-length the duration of the run home before crossing the wire in 1:44.35 for the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route.
“We had a very good trip,” Prat said. “We were really traveling very easy. It was pretty slow, so I thought twice and said, ‘Let’s go. We better go now.’ I asked her at the 3-furlong pole and she went so easy. She responded really great.”
Beautiful Gift, under John Velazquez, was 5 1/4 lengths clear of Moraz.
“She gave me all she had there at the end,” Velazquez said. “The other horse cut the corner at the top of the stretch and I had to go pretty wide, so that was the difference between winning and losing the race right there.”
Javanica never factored into the running before completing the order of finish.
The Santa Anita Oaks is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Soothsay earned 100 points for the win, with Beautiful Gift receiving 40 for second, Moraz 20 for third, and Javanica 10 for fourth.
Soothsay’s win came with a first-place purse award of $240,000 that increased the Distorted Humor filly’s earnings to $276,600 for co-owners Claiborne Farm, Perry and Ramona Bass, and Adele Dilschneider.
“We expected a lot of her from the first start (a 6-furlong sprint here February 26), and from that start until now, she just grew up,” Mandella said. “You kind of see it happening, otherwise we wouldn’t do something like this. If you watched her last workout, you could see how serious she was. I thought she was something special. I was hoping I was right.”
Soothsay returned $10.40 to win and $3.60 to place. Beautiful Gift paid $2.60 to place. There was no show betting.
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