The margin of victory wasn’t much, and the race itself was far from exciting, more closely resembling a stroll in the park than an actual race; but Irish Mission exited the course having done what was expected of her. Sent to post as the lukewarm favorite, the chestnut mare stalked the pace then split foes in the stretch to win the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap at Gulfstream Park by ¾-length.
Under jockey Luis Saez, 39-1 longshot Bohemian Dance took control of the race early, slowing things to a crawl. With the field not far behind her, Bohemian Dance clicked off splits of :25.17 for the opening quarter, :52.93 for the first half and 1:46.43 for the mile. A length and half behind the leader, Irish Mission comfortably stalked the pace from the fourth position, patiently waiting for the opportune time to pounce. As the field entered the far turn and others began to make their bids, jockey John Velazquez finally gave the signal.
Initially losing a spot, it was not long before Irish Mission had split foes and taken the lead. From there, she simply had to hold off stablemate and late charging Tabreed, who looked as though she was going to roar past the entire field before her bid stalled. The final time for the 1 1/2-mile turf affair was an extremely slow 2:35.85. Photo Call moved up from mid-field to win third by a ½-length. Always Kitten closed from 14th and last to round out the superfecta. Julie’s Love, Maximova, Clearbrook, Auld Alliance, Cay Dancer, Honey Lake, Angegreen, Bohemian Dance, Modernstone and Premium rounded out the complete order of finish.
It was a profitable race for trainer Christophe Clement, who accounted for the winning exacta plus Maximova, who finished 6th, just 2 ¾-lengths behind the winner. Clement had a very philosophical outlook on the pace of the race, stating simply,“It was the same for all of us. As long as we all compete and it’s the same for all of us, I’m okay with it. They finished very well. When they win you don’t care too much.”
Winning jockey John Velazquez wasn’t as optimistic about the pace as the race unfolded. “The pace was slow and I couldn’t drop in to where I wanted to be but I said since we’re going so slow I kept her where I was,” he said. “I didn’t want to be in her mouth too much. After that, I just kind of waited down the lane because [I] know she’s going to wait and she responded when they came to her.”
As the 2-1 favorite, Irish Mission returned $6.40/$4.20/$3.00 for the win. Tabreed paid $9.20/$5.60 off 14-1 odds, and Photo Call paid $3.60 as the second choice at 5-2. The $2 exacta returned $78.20, the $1 trifecta paid $212.80 and the $0.10 superfecta was worth $154.68.
By Giant’s Causeway and out of the Miswaki mare Misty Mission, Irish Mission was bred by Sam-Son Farm. She was picked up out of the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga 2010 Select Yearling Sale for $375,000 by Lawley-Wakelin Bloodstock, agent on behalf of owner Robert S. Evans. Today’s victory improved her career record to 28: 6-6-3 for total purse earnings of $1,266,863.
Plans for the winner and runner-up are already in place. “She’s (Irish Mission) going to be bred in the spring of 2015, so maybe she can run once more in a race like The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream (February 21). The other filly (Tabreed) is going to quarantine I think in January. She’s going to be bred to Australia, because the owner of Tabreed owns a share of Australia,” trainer Clement said after the race.