Old Hat Draws Field Full of Early Speed

Awesome Belle, from the same barn that brought us champion Awesome Feather, headlines a field of eight fillies for Sunday’s G3 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The chestnut Awesome of Course filly’s career has been almost identical to that of Awesome Feather’s but with some glaring distances. Awesome Feather is undefeated and only required one race to break her maiden. On the other hand, Awesome Belle (Awesome of Course—Bayou Plans, by Bayou Hebert) needed two races to break her maiden. From their maiden races, both fillies moved on to the J J’sdream Stakes, the Florida Stallion Desert Vixen, the Florida Stallion Susan’s Girl Stakes, the Florida Stallion My Dear Girl Stakes, and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Awesome Belle has not had nearly the same level of success as her champion half-sister, but she has done rather well for herself. In 7 career starts, she is 2-1-2 and looks set to put together a strong campaign in 2012 if she can learn to relax. Sunday’s race will be her first since a disappointing 12th place finish in the BC Juvenile Fillies, a race filled with talent. Runners in Sunday’s race are:
Soft Whisper (Bernstein—Unbridled Mistress, by Unbridled’s Song) has not finished off the board in 3 career starts. The bay filly likes to run near the pace and is already a winner at the 6 furlong Old Hat distance. Her pedigree indicates that she might want a little more distance, but she lost two of her races by a combined 15 ½ lengths, lacking a late kick.
Say a Novena (Songandaprayer—Rabiadella, by Dynaformer) is a winner of a non-graded stakes race and is 3-2-0 in 7 career starts. So far in her career, she has won every other race, so, if she holds true to pattern, then the Old Hat Stakes is hers for the taking. If you do not buy into patterns or superstitions, then maybe this is not the filly for you. Her last work was a tepid 5 furlong move in 1:02.80. She likes to be on the lead and will likely try to set the pace.
Sabrina’s Dance (Werblin—Spicy Dance, by Sword Dance [IRE]) is one of two undefeated fillies in the field. She is perfect in two starts but has not been asked to go six furlongs yet. She has proved versatile thus far. She wired the field in her debut race but rated off the pace last out. Depending on trainer Canani’s game plan, she could contest the pace or track the pace from about mid-field.
Sacristy (Pulpit—Christies Treasure, by Belong to Me) has not finished worse than second in three starts. She had a rough trip in the opening stages of her debut race but still managed to finish second. The dark bay Pulpit filly tends to run in about 3rd or 4th through the race. With Desormeaux aboard, she will be one to watch out for.
Bet to Win (Pulpit—Wild Crazy Lady, by Touch Gold) wired the field in both of her wins but was dead last in previous race, the G2 Pocahontas. In the one mile affair, she pressed the pace through three-quarters of a mile and then was stopped by Rajiv Maragh. Trainer DiVito has made a rider change since then, and the chestnut PulpitCastellano on board. Look for her to be on the lead if possible. filly will have one of the best in the business piloting her with
Awesome Belle has so far proved to need her own way in order to win. In both wins, she wired the field, but, when she’s not on the lead, she does not win. With Bet to Win, Say a Novena, Yara, and Quick Flip in the race, she looks to have her work cut out for her if she wants to win. Like Say a Novena, she is a winner of a non-graded stakes race.
Yara (Put It Back—Ashlee’s Lady, by Gilded Time) is also a winner of a non-graded stakes race. She has two wins in four starts, and, like Awesome Belle, needs to be on the lead in order to win. Her two wins have been wire-to-wire efforts, and she finished fourth both times she was not able to make the lead.
Quick Flip (Speightstown—Motel Lass, by Bates Motel) is the second undefeated filly in the field. She is perfect in three starts with all three wins coming at the six furlong distance. She already has a non-graded stakes win to her credit, and, like four of the other fillies, likes to be on the lead. Maragh hops off Sacristy and onto this chestnut Speightstown filly.
The Old Hat Stakes drew a field full of early speed. With five fillies who like to be on the lead, I foresee a hot pace unfolding in the early stages of the six furlong affair. If Bet to Win, Say a Novena, Yara, Quick Flip, and Awesome Belle burn each other out, look for Sacristy or Sabrina’s Dance to make a big move in the stretch and pick up the pieces for the win. However, if any one of the front running fillies can relax nicely a little further off the pace than usual, then Gulfstream’s speed-favoring surface will propel them into the winner’s circle. Quick Flip is the obvious choice for the win but keep an eye on Sacristy and Sabrina’s Dance.

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racings stars, equine and human alike.

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