Lady of Venice Sails to Ouija Board Victory
The one-mile event for fillies and mares, previously known as the WinStar Distaff, was run for the first time as the Ouija Board Distaff Handicap.
Sent off at odds of 2-5, the Patrick Biancone trainee outclassed the field while winning for the fourth time in six United States starts. Winner of last spring's Regret (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs, the 4-year-old daughter of Loup Solitaire is 6-for-8 in her light career.
Breaking from the outside in the field of eight, Gomez angled a slightly rank Lady of Venice toward the inside soon after the start of the one-mile event and they sat last of a compact group all the way to the final turn. As they rounded the bend, Gomez, still trailing, angled Lady of Venice out and she was six paths wide as she set down for the charge. Lady of Venice made up ground quickly in the middle of the rain-slowed course and had command leaving the sixteenth pole to draw away by 1 3/4 lengths lengths in a time of 1:38 2/5.
"I was trying to weave my way though traffic but it didn't pan out, so I just wheeled her out at the quarter-pole because I didn't want to give her too much too do over this soft ground," Gomez said. "She's a remarkable filly and really fun to ride. Once we got around the first turn, she was waiting on my command. I had to sit there and wait to get to the outside, but once I put her out in the middle of the track I said 'Okay, just go ahead and do it.' She's a beautiful filly with a beautiful turn of foot."
Second choice Brownie Points, ridden by Luis Quinonez, lacked room along the inside as Lady of Venice made her move. She got through late to edge pacesetter Rich Fantasy and Calvin Borel for third. Rich Fantasy set fractions of :24, :48 3/5 and 1:13 3/5 and led the field through the lane until overtaken by the winner.
Lady of Venice carried co-top weight of 118 pounds with Brownie Points, carrying Gomez to his second graded stakes win of the day. Gomez was aboard favored Embossed in the $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) two races earlier.
Increasing her earnings to $439,521, Lady of Venice paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. She began her career with three starts for trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias in France, breaking her maiden second time out at Longchamp in September 2005. She transferred to the U.S. in April 2006, breaking in with a victory in Keeneland's one-mile Appalachian on the turf.
Brownie Points, second-place finisher in the Bayakoa on the Oaklawn main track in her last start April 11, returned $3.20 and $2.40. Rich Fantasy was $2.60 to show.
D Fine Okie finished fourth, with Barbette, My Three Sisters, Sweet Idea and Prospectors Spirit following.
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