February 26, 2024

Sopran Basilea prevails in Robert G. Dick Memorial; Foggy Night envelops Delaware Oaks

Sopran Basilea gets through on the rail in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (Photo by Hoofprints, Inc.)

After an excellent second in her U.S. debut in the May 20 Gallorette (G3), Sopran Basilea enjoyed returning to her longer-distance wheelhouse in Saturday’s $250,300 Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3). The 7-2 chance rallied up the rail in time, giving trainer Graham Motion his record ninth winner in the Delaware Park feature.

Sopran Basilea was confidently handled by Jorge Ruiz, who anchored the European import at the back of the pack early. Up front, the 21-1 Ever Summer was trying to steal it through fractions of :25.91, :52.21, 1:18.12, and 1:43.38 on the soft turf. Her nearest pursuer, the 3-1 Viareggio, could not reel her in, and the longest shot on the board kept on plugging away down the stretch.

Ruiz committed to an inside path aboard Sopran Basilea, and found room on the cutaway to unleash her turn of foot. Surging late to get up by a neck, the Irish-bred completed 1 3/8 miles in 2:20.27.

“Jorge gave her a beautiful ride,” Motion said. “I honestly did not know she was this good, but off of her European form, she looked like she was. She ran beautiful.  She tries hard; she is genuine and very honest. She ran super, and she could not have done much better than that.”

Ever Summer held second, with a half-length to spare over the one-paced stalker Parnac. Talbeyah churned her way into fourth, edging Lady Rockstar and Viareggio. Motion’s runner fancied in the market, 9-5 favorite Frivole, trailed.

An approximately $316,225 purchase at Arqana last December, Sopran Basilea now races for Madaket Stables and Bill Strauss. The Night of Thunder mare was originally based in Italy, where she won the 2021 Premio Lydia Tesio (G2), Premio Verziere (G3), and Premio Mario Incisa della Rochetta. Last season, she was runner-up in the Lydia Tesio and Verziere, as well as the Premio del Giubileo (G3).

With the profile of a 1 1/4-mile performer effective on soft going, Sopran Basilea didn’t figure to have conditions in her favor in her comeback in the 1 1/16-mile Galorette. Thus her hard-charging second, at a firm Pimlico, was a pointer. Her Robert G. Dick victory improved her record to 16-5-6-1, $482,857.

Sopran Basilea was bred by Aidan Sexton in the Emerald Isle. Out of the King’s Best mare Kathy Best, the five-year-old chestnut hails from the family of Italian highweights Kathy Dream, Rosendhal, and Plusquemavie. Further back, one finds dual classic-winning champion Ragusa and influential matron *Ela Marita.

Foggy Night upsets the Delaware Oaks (Photo by Hoofprints, Inc.)

The ensuing $300,000 Delaware Oaks was not as formful, with the 14-1 Foggy Night overhauling 16-1 Opus Forty Two and 2.60-1 Miracle inside the final furlong. Trained by Butch Reid and piloted by Paco Lopez, the Parx shipper was earning her first stakes laurel.

Foggy Night had not attempted stakes company since her juvenile season, when she was second in the Tempted S. and sixth in the Demoiselle (G2). The Pine Brook Farm colorbearer warmed up this spring with a pair of seven-furlong allowances at Parx. A troubled, near-miss second in her April 24 reappearance, she rolled by six lengths next time on June 5, and took another step forward on the class and distance hike here.

Opus Forty Two went straight to the lead, tracked by Miracle through splits of :24.14 and :47.98. Foggy Night was well placed in a stalking third, but fans of 9-10 favorite Fireline had to be concerned as she was already being nudged along in a midpack fourth.

Miracle challenged Opus Forty Two passing six furlongs in 1:12.14, only the longtime leader wouldn’t yield. As they battled, Foggy Night swept around them both. Despite lugging in and giving Lopez a hard time, she had enough forward momentum to pull 1 3/4 lengths clear.

Opus Forty Two fended off Miracle by a nose for runner-up honors. There was a 4 1/4-length gap back to Fireline, who ran as if spinning her wheels on the surface. Next came Cover the Spread, Balpool, slow-starting Fast Tracked, and Cats inthe Timber.

Promiseher America and Crypto Mama were withdrawn. Promiseher America’s trainer, Raymond Handal, had all his Saturday entrants scratched because he was provisionally suspended by the Horseracing Welfare and Integrity Unit, under the auspices of HISA. As reported by Thoroughbred Daily News, the ruling came following the Handal-trained Barrage’s testing positive for Zeranol.

Foggy Night, who negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.07, rewarded her backers with $30.40. The chestnut has now banked $278,550 from her 8-3-4-0 line.

By Khozan, the Distorted Humor half-brother to Hall of Famer Royal Delta, Foggy Night was bred by Brent and Crystal Fernung in Florida. The $20,000 OBS April juvenile is out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Settling Seas.