F&M Sprint: Informed Decision Upsets Ventura
The 4-year-old Monarchos filly is an all-weather surface specialist, running her record to seven-for-seven over the synthetics. Ventura was pushed wide in the turn for home and simply had too much to do down the lane while finishing runner-up.
Informed Decision, ridden by Julien Leparoux, broke very sharply but the rider was content to let Free Flying Soul and Mike Smith go by and take the lead. Leparoux had the perfect trip, sitting in second as the field went the opening quarter in :23.23 and the half-mile in :45.95.
Ventura, under Garrett Gomez, had just one horse beat as the field went down the backside but commenced his run as the group cornered through the turn for home. However, Evita Argentina and Joel Rasario moved at the same time and the pair fanned wide while Leparoux was letting out a notch on informed Decision.
The six-furlong split was 1:09.66, and Informed Decision ran the seven furlongs in 1:21.66.
"She broke good, and put me right where I wanted to be early in the race," Leparoux said. "She was nice and relaxed and comfortable. I was very happy from the start because I know what kind of kick she can give me. She can win any way. She's a champion. That's what champions do. She just has to be comfortable, whether she's in front, close to the pace, or behind."
Informed Decision is owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard. She was bred in Kentucky from the His Majesty mare Palangana by Chuck Kidder and his wife, Nancy Cole.
"She was always up there — clear and close to the pace," Sheppard said. "She got the lead in plenty of time and kept driving to the wire. If there were a chink to her armor, Ventura would have caught her but she finished up strongly. She usually does. It worked out perfectly. Julien gave her a great ride."
It was the second win on the day for Leparoux, who won the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) aboard She Be Wild.
"Pace makes the race. They were going exceptionally slow up front and there wasn’t any one up there to help me," Gomez said. "She gave me her usual kick as we started to make our run. She’s the kind of filly that you have to time just right. If I ask her too soon, that’s not good either. When my filly kicked in, she started to gain on the other one, but she kicked in too and went into a higher gear. I just couldn’t catch her."
When Ventura won the race a year ago over the same track, she ran the distance in 1:19.90. The half-mile split in that race was :44.02.
Informed Decision, who has won 11 of 14 starts, paid $8.80, $3, and $2.80. Ventura returned $2.60 and $2.20, and Free Flying Soul held on for third and was worth $7.40.
Informed Decision is the all-time leading earner for her sire, Monarchos, who stands at Nuckols Farm near Midway, Ky. He is represented by three other stakes winners this year — Win Willy, Bingham and Rapper S S.
The dam of Informed Decision produced a full brother to the Breeders’ Cup winner this year for Kidder and Cole. Sixteen-year-old Palangana, who was bred in Kentucky by Mike Rutherford, is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Westheimer.
Informed Decision was consigned to the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale by Gainesway, agent. She was purchased by Joseph Applebaum for $150,000. Consigned to the following year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training by Church Street Equine Investments, Off the Hook Partners, agent, she was bought by Patty Miller, EQB, agent, for $320,000.
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