Raydelz Stable's SOOTHSAY overcame a terrible start en route to a neck-victory in Monday's $200K Indiana Oaks (G3) at Indiana Downs.
Sent off at odds of $3.00-to-win, and ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, SOOTHSAY hopped in the air found herself dead-last in the opening stages, while LOVELY RIDE secured the lead and showed the way through early fractions of 24.71 and 48.88. It was a moderate pace, but SOOTHSAY was allowed to relax into strides, albeit still eight lengths off the lead.
"She was really tense in the gate," Prat said.
"I couldn't get her to relax. She broke in the air.... To be honest, usually when you break like that, it's pretty much game over — at least for the win. So, I was just trying to regroup, to give her a chance at least in the first turn to save ground. Because of the way she broke, I wasn't able to go around. I tried to cut the corner again at the quarter pole, and she really dug in." (Jennie Rees, Paulick Report)
Leaving the backside, Flavien Prat makes his move with SOOTHSAY, and she responds with push button acceleration, ranging up to the pacesetters before swinging five-wide into the stretch. She reels in MOON SWAG and MARION FRANCIS to her inside, and holds off the furious rally of LADY ACES directly to her outside.
SOOTHSAY ultimately prevailed by a neck, MOON SWAG finished second, and LADY ACES ran well to be third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth on dirt was 1:44.36. This win gave winning trainer Richard Mandella his very first Indiana Oaks (G3) victory.
"Well, to be a good sport, I told Flavien, 'Hey give them guys several lengths and make it a real contest,'" trainer Richard Mandella said jokingly by phone, per Paulick Report.
"No, at that half-mile pole I was praying, 'Please pick up some money so we can pay some expenses.' But Flavien Prat showed what a star he's become. He got off bad. He just sat there so cool, didn't lose any more ground than he had to. Just such a great ride.
"Her stakes races here were such small fields. It wasn't like she got a lot of experience. But she sure ran (like she had), other than getting away bad. But I think that was just sitting in the gate for a long time. Their patience wears out sometimes, and it looked like that's what happened, and she kind of just blew when they opened it. But she sure ran like a pro the rest of the way."
Mandella was elated by SOOTHSAY's move into the final turn.
"When she made that big move around the field going into the second turn, I thought, 'Boy, that really looks impressive, but I hope she doesn't come up short from such a big effort to make it up,'" he said. "When she straightened away in the stretch, she looked like she was very composed and still had her act together. The stride and power she has, I felt pretty good at that point."
SOOTHSAY paid $8.00 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.40 to show. She is by DISTORTED HUMOR out of SPELLBOUND by BERNARDINI. She improves her record to 3 wins and 1 second from 4 total strats, while pushing her earnings to $431,800.
"I thought it was going to be a really long drive home," said part owner Dell Hancock of Claiborne. "But her mother ran like that. Spellbound won the La Canada running like that, so I thought, 'Well, maybe she'll be like her mother.' But I didn't think it would really happen. When they got to the three-eighths pole and she was really moving, I thought, 'If she can be third, she can at least pay for the shipping.' And then we started riding really hard from the quarter pole home. I'm so proud of her. So proud."
Source: Equibase, Jennie Ree, Paulick Report