Three Diamonds Farm’s Go Noni Go earned her first stakes victory on Saturday when taking the $101,600 Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway Park by two lengths under jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
The one-mile contest is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, and awarded 20-8-4-2- points to the respective top four finishers.
Hey Negrita set the opening half-mile in :25.29 and :48.27 with In the Mood stalking in second. Go Noni Go broke out from her far outside post when the gates opened and settled to track the early pace in last.
In the Mood took over on the final turn, entered the stretch five wide and began inching clear in the lane. However, Go Noni Go was fast on her heels. That filly was six wide on the bend and rallied in the stretch to overhaul In the Mood and stop the clock for a mile over the synthetic Polytrack in 1:39.09.
Sent off the 7-2 third choice, Go Noni Go returned $9.60 for the victory. In the Mood held second by a neck over Homemade Salsa, while another seven lengths behind Hey Negrita completed the top four under the wire. Rounding out the order of finish were Consolida, Mo Flash, Bet She Wins and Queen’s Fate.
Go Noni Go opened her career on the dirt at Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Oaks (G1) will be run May 4, but didn’t find success until switching to the turf course at Ellis Park. Breaking her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths last July 9, the dark bay daughter of Get Stormy was subsequently switched from Michael Sullivan’s shedrow to trainer Mike Maker.
Go Noni Go proceeded to run third in her stakes bow, the Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs, for her new conditioner, and closed out her juvenile season two races later with a six-length allowance/optional claiming score at Gulfstream Park on Christmas Eve. She returned to action February 3 in the Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3) over that same course but faded to fifth.
Bred in Kentucky by David E. Hager II, Go Noni Go improved her career record to 9-3-1-1, $161,865 on Saturday. She is the first registered foal out of the Perfect Soul mare Lady Larkspur, who is a half-sister to the dam of Grade 2 victor Wayzata Bay. Go Noni Go’s fourth dam is Greenness, who is a Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, and this female family also includes Grade 2 scorer Euchre.
BOURBONETTE OAKS QUOTES
Tyler Gaffalione, jockey Go Noni Go, winner
“I’ve ridden her before and I’m happy we finally got her a stakes win. Everything went as planned. She broke well today, she relaxed, and that was the main thing. Mike and his team did a great job getting her ready for today’s race.”
Mike Maker, trainer Go Noni Go, winner
“She ran a great race last time out at Gulfstream Park, that stakes race (the Sweetest Chant), but she was in a little bit over her head. We flirted with the idea of running her on dirt but decided to try the Polytrack. And now she’s a stakes winner! She’s a very slight filly, she struggles with keeping weight on, but she’s easy to train.”
John McKee, jockey In the Mood, second
“She ran great. The trainer (Stephen Sandy) did a great job. She was a little keen early. I wish she wouldn’t have turned off for me down the backside. She ran her heart out. She finished strong. She just came up a little short today. I have a lot of confidence in the filly. I think she has a lot of ability and talent. The last three times I rode her, she’s put her heart out for me. I just got beat by a better horse.”