WinStar Farm’s Overture was sent off at 12-1 in Saturday’s $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3), but the Bill Mott trainee ran like a favorite when flying home along the rail to triumph by a length under jockey Julien Leparoux.
It was a nice present for the rider, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Saturday with his mom, Nicole Leparoux, in town from his native France.
Overture led all the way in the 1 1/16-mile contest, setting splits of :24.68, :49.63, 1:13.94 and 1:37.67 before stopping the clock in 1:43.79 over the fast main track at Indiana Grand.
Even-money favorite Mopotism put in a game late rally, but ran out of room while a half-length clear of 5-2 second choice Majestic Quality in third. Awestruck rounded out the top four under the wire while Dutch Parrot, Wicked Lick, Stonetacular and I’mluckysgirl completed the order of finish.
Overture made her stakes debut in this spot after finishing third against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Belmont Park. That winner of that June 1 affair, Unchained Melody, romped by three lengths next out in the Mother Goose Stakes (G2) at Belmont.
Overture is now 5-2-2-1, $169,080 in her career, having finishing second in her initial outing at Gulfstream Park over a sloppy, sealed track on February 22 and breaking her maiden by four lengths on April 4 on a fast dirt at Gulfstream. She finished second in a one-mile allowance at Belmont before her most recent effort.
Bred in Florida by Hickstead Farm, Overture is out of the Toccet mare Toccet Over, making her a half-sister to Grade 1-placed stakes winner Mexikoma. Her fourth dam is multiple Grade 1-scoring millionaire Sabin.
INDIANA OAKS QUOTES
Kenny McCarthy, assistant trainer Overture, winner
“(Trainer Bill Mott) obviously had an eye on her after she broke her maiden (at Gulfstream Park) and tried her a little bit her last couple of races. Her last race, she was a little bit of a question mark when she backed up at the end there. But she trained well in between. We got her down to Churchill and she trained really well there.
“We were surprised we ended up there in front. It looked like there might be a couple that out-footed us. But he told me he’d told (jockey) Julien (Leparoux) that she leaves out of there good being in the 1 hole, go on and let her run a little bit. But I didn’t necessarily think we’d be on the lead.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey Overture, winner
“It looked like there were a couple of other speed (horses) in the race. So I wanted to break good and put her in the race and see what they were doing. They left me in front pretty easy so I was happy. She was doing it pretty nicely, in a good rhythm. At the three-eighths pole, I started asking her a little bit, and she kept on nice until the end.”
Said he was surprised at the :49
“Yes, I was. I didn’t think I was even going to be on the lead. But they gave it to me, and I took it.”
Sean Tugel, director of bloodstock for owner WinStar Farm
“It’s fantastic. Her running lines over her last couple of races have been very good. The filly (Unchained Melody) that beat her last time out came back and won the Mother Goose (G2) last week.
“She’s a filly we thought would really appreciate the two turns, and we got her out of New York, which was a one-turn mile and a sixteenth. The first two fractions that got thrown out, we said, ‘Well, we should have a chance.’ And the track kind of wasn’t playing in our favor today, I don’t think. But she was real classy in the paddock, and really classy in the post parade and she showed her class here. Very nice filly.”
On the half-mile in :49.63
“Oh, man that gave us hope. We were like, ‘Fingers crossed, if she wants the distance, she’ll get it with those fractions, and she obviously did. She looked fantastic down the lane and maybe on to bigger and better things, hopefully.”