May 27, 2024

Kopion leads all the way in Santa Ynez triumph

Kopion breezes home as the 1-5 favorite in the Santa Ynez (Photo by Benoit Photo)

The bettors who pounded Kopion to 1-5 favoritism in Sunday’s $98,000 Santa Ynez S. (G3) at Santa Anita never had to take a deep breath. The chestnut filly brought her career tally to 2-for-2 with a decisive victory.

Following the scratch of Petit Filet, only four fillies faced the starter in the seven-furlong Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifier. Kopion broke from the rail under jockey Flavien Prat, made the lead through splits of :23.70 and :46.55, and kicked away with authority down the homestretch to score by 5 3/4 lengths in 1:23.89.

“Her trip was good,” said Prat. “She was a bit sharper today but, she jumped well out of there and she looked around a bit when she was on the lead. Besides that she did everything perfect.”

Winning the Santa Ynez earned Kopion 10 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualification points, placing her 10th on the current leaderboard. Don’t Bring Crazy raced in second place throughout the Santa Ynez and picked up five points for her runner-up finish, while Tambo (third, three points) and Bossy Bruin Gal (fourth, two points) completed the order of finish.

Bred by Tall Oaks Farm and owned by Spendthrift Farm, Kopion entered the Santa Ynez off a 3 3/4-length triumph in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar. Her unblemished record has yielded earnings of $96,600 under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

“It looked like when she went out to the track she settled down, she warmed up nice, and went to the gate nice,” said Mandella. “She left there running and she kind of gave us that feeling when we were in the paddock. She showed her class.”

Produced by the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Ami, Kopion hails from the first crop of foals sired by Omaha Beach, a three-time Grade 1 winner trained by Mandella.

“I love (Omaha Beach); he was such a class horse, a good horse, and this filly has just been a star ever since she came back,” said Mandella.

Santa Anita’s path to the Kentucky Oaks continues on Jan. 27 with the one-mile Las Virgenes (G3), worth 20-10-6-4-2 points to the top five finishers. It rounds out with the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel (G3) on March 3 (worth 50-25-15-10-5 points) and the 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita Oaks (G2) on April 6 (worth 100-50-25-15-10 points).