Soothsay fended off the challenge of favored Beautiful Gift to win Saturday's $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2) by a half-length in the first stakes starts of any type for the 3-year-old Distorted Humor filly.
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She also earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1), assuring herself a starting spot in that race on April 30.
Soothsay was making a big class jump after winning her debut in a Feb. 26 maiden special weight at six furlongs, but proved up to the task for trainer Richard Mandella. With Moraz setting a moderate pace, Soothsay was last as the compact field of four entered the backstretch. Kept along the fence down the backstretch, Soothsay moved up to take the lead as Moraz drifted out entering the final bend.
Beautiful gift joined the fray and the three fillies were on even terms at the quarter pole. The final eighth turned into a match race with Soothsay repelling Beautiful gift in a very game effort. The final time after a slow early pace was 1:44.35 for the 1 1/16-miles on the fast track.
“We expected a lot of her from the first start and from that start until now, she just grew up,” said Mandella. “You kind of see it happening. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do something like this. If you watched her last workout, you could see how serious she was. We’ll see about the (Kentucky) Oaks.”
Soothsay is owned by her breeders Claiborne Farm, Perry Bass II, Ramona Bass and Adele Dilschneider. The bay filly's dam Spellbound won the La Canada S. (G2).
Distorted Humor is currently North America's leading active sire of lifetime stakes winners with 161 and second by progeny earnings, with over $148 million to date.