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ARCADIA, CA – Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita Park provided us a thrilling three horse photo that ended with Sophie P just nosing out Madam Dancealot and Madame Stripes.
Only a neck separated the top three finishers, and just the smallest of noses came between the top two horses. The Jim Cassidy trained Sophie P was able to narrowly win the race by a nostril over Madam Dancealot. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Sophie P sat well off the early pace set by Madame Stripes. She was traveling well in the stretch as she motored home on the outside of horses while just barely prevailing in the photo finish that took minutes for the Santa Anita stewards to examine.
“She was fluttering (a reference to her breathing) to me and I haven’t had a horse do that with me in years,” said Desormeaux. “It’s a great indication to me, verbally, like she was saying ‘I’m very happy here, let’s continue to cruise here.’ I stayed there until I needed her to help me make some room for a run. Once she had clear sailing, she really took off. She had to fight to catch the leader and was very fortunate to beat the horse that she couldn’t see…We were lucky to get the head bob.”
This was only the second United Stakes start for Sophie P. She was sixth in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes on April 7th where she was defeated by Beau Recall by three lengths. That poor finish allowed her backers to get her at a solid 14-1 price on Saturday.
“I really wasn’t sure if we got the bob, but if I had to bet on it, I would have said ‘no,’ said Cassidy. “If they put up ‘dead heat,’ I would not have been surprised. I was thinking Kent’s a great rider as I watched the stretch. He put her in the right position and didn’t let anybody get clear.
Slam Dunk Racing’s Madam Dancealot was last when turning for him in the race, but made a furious rally only to come up a nostril short. It was a heart breaking loss, but her stretch rally was a game effort.
Sophie P returned $30.00 to win, $11.80 to place, and $6.80 to show. Madam Dancealot brought back $5.40 to place and $3.40 to show, while Madame Stripes paid $5.60 to show.
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