Nerves undid Soothsay at the start of $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3) Wednesday night at Indiana Grand, but the three-year-old filly ultimately showed nerves of steel turning in a last-to-first rally to win her second graded stakes from four lifetime starts.
Shipping in from her Southern California base for trainer Richard Mandella, Soothsay started as the 3-1 second choice in the field of nine, but the long trip nearly came to naught when the gates opened.
“She was really tense in the gate. I couldn’t get her to relax. She broke in the air,” jockey Flavien Prat said. “So from that point I just wanted her to travel well, to regroup well.”
Still trailing after a half-mile, Soothsay commenced a wide rally around the far turn, kept grinding and picking off rivals down the stretch, and caught 40-1 outsider Moon Swag in the final strides to win by a neck. Lady Aces, another California invader, was a neck farther behind in third.
Following Lady Aces under the wire were Marion Francis, pacesetter Lovely Ride, 2-1 favorite Will’s Secret, Sweet Pearl, Malloy, and Li’l Tootsie.
“Really good effort. If you look at her first race, she was behind and made a big move on the turn. That’s what she did today. It was nice,” Prat said.
A homebred racing for Raydelz Stable, Soothsay covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:44.36 and paid $8.
This was the third win for Soothsay, who won on debut Feb. 26 at Santa Anita going six furlongs, and then returned a little more than a month later to capture the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) by a half-length. Kept out of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) due to her relative inexperience, Soothsay’s one interim start came in the Summertime Oaks (G2), in which she proved second best to multiple graded winner Crazy Beautiful. Soothsay has now bankrolled $431,800.
The Kentucky-bred is by Distorted Humor and out of Grade 2 winner Spellbound, a Bernardini half-sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Kid Cruz. This is the female family of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.
Earlier in the card, Summer in Saratoga rallied for a one-length victory over Alnaseem in the $85,000 Indiana General Assembly S. for fillies and mares, covering 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.44 under Corey Lanerie. The 3-1 third choice in the wagering, she paid $8.40.
Victorious earlier this season in the Tom Benson Memorial at Fair Grounds, the five-year-old daughter of Hard Spun is owned by Highlander Training Center and is trained by Joe Sharp.
In the $85,000 Mari Hullman George Memorial, also for fillies and mares, Matera rallied late to win by three parts of a length over Microcap as the 11-10 favorite under Florent Geroux.
This stakes debut win for the four-year-old daughter of Tapit was achieved in 1:43.29 for 1 1/16 miles over the main track. Trained by Brad Cox, Matera returned $4.20.