Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., March 23, 2013 – The grit of a two determined fillies turned the $100,000 Fathead Bourbonette Oaks (G3) into a heart-stopper Saturday at Turfway Park, with Silsita digging hard to catch Marathon Lady by the barest nose at the wire and join the ranks of graded stakes winners.
With John Velazquez aboard, Silsita raced in second through six of the eight furlongs of the Bourbonette, tracking first Martha's Moon and then Marathon Lady. The stretch run came down to a lady fight between Silsita on the outside and Marathon Lady on the inside, both digging hard, each taking the lead, each being headed, and each battling back. It took a photo to prove that Silsita had battled a nose harder.
In third, three lengths behind Marathon Lady, came the 4-5 favorite Pure Fun, a Grade 1 winner who was making her first start since Dec. 8.
After fractions of :24.09 and :47.56 by Martha's Moon and Marathon Lady's six-furlong time of 1:12.08, Silsita finished the one-mile Fathead Bourbonette Oaks in 1:38.27.
"It's very exciting to see this filly jump up and win like this," said Ginny DePasquale, long time assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "It seemed like a good spot and Todd felt she was improving over a period of time in Florida. So we thought we'd take a shot and obviously it worked out quite well."
The Fathead Bourbonette Oaks offers 50 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points to the winner. Whether Silsita aims for that race is a decision Pletcher will make with the filly's owners, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Tanourin Stable. "Whatever they have in mind,” said DePasquale, "I'm sure they're going to make the right decision for her."
Trainer Ken McPeek was not disappointed with the effort by Pure Fun, who earned 10 points toward the Kentucky Oaks. "It looked like she was fighting the track a little the last quarter of a mile. It's her first start of the year and we thought she had a chance to get beat today. But she's a good filly and it's a step in the right direction."
Behind Pure Fun came Broken Spell, Miss Squeal, Street of Gold, Anahauc, Awesome Mama, Always Kitten, Le Fascinator, Corporate Culture, and Martha's Moon.
Sent off at 9-1, Silsita paid $20.40, $9.20, and $4.20.
A dark gray filly by Macho Uno out of Naturally Wild, by Wild Again, Silsita was bred in Florida by co-owner Tanourin Stable. She now has two wins and a third in four career starts, three coming since January, and has earned $84,725.
CORRECTED 3/26/13: winning jockey John Velazquez