Tottie, the 9-5 favorite, remained unbeaten in two starts since shipping to the U.S., as she stalked the pace and took over mid-stretch en route to a narrow win in the $125,000 Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park.
A 4-year-old daughter of Fantastic Light, Tottie made the first 10 starts of her career in her native England with trainer Amanda Perrett before shipping to Florida last fall and landing in the barn of Chad Brown. The bay filly won her North American debut Jan. 7 over the same Gulfstream turf course in a 1 1/16-mile allowance contest.
In the nine-furlong Suwannee, Tottie broke from the outside in post 11 under Jose Lezcano and tracked pacesetter In My Glory through easy splits of :24.63, :50.96, 1:15.55, and 1:38.84. In My Glory, a 45-1 longshot with Jesus Castanon aboard, still had a half-length advantage at the eighth-pole, but Tottie continued to chase her rival down and finally took over at the sixteenth-pole.
Her other threat in deep stretch was Cable, who rallied from well off the pace under Alan Garcia to make it close, but Tottie held on to win by three parts of a length in a final time of 1:50.34 over a firm turf course. Cable, a 5-year-old Dynaformer mare, was a neck in front of In My Glory. Sweet and Flawless was another head back in fourth.
“The plan was to come from behind, but when she broke, she broke right on top and I didn’t want to take her back,” Lezcano said. “She was sharp and I took her right to the rail to get my position, and when I asked her she gave me a big kick. She is a very nice filly.”
Tottie won just once in 10 starts in Europe, finishing out of the money in eight of those tries. She has clearly found a new home on the U.S. grass.
“She came to me in September on a recommendation from James Delahooke (bloodstock agent),” Brown said. “The owner, Mr. (J. H.) Richmond-Watson from England, said to take whatever time you think she needs. She had a bad first month here before she began to acclimate and the extra time has paid off.
“I was a little concerned that there wasn’t much pace up front today. She has the one big run, but Jose made a decision earlier in the race than she normally would, and it was a decision that I think won the race for her. I think middle distances, a mile to a mile-and-an-eighth, are her best. There are plenty of opportunities for her later on.”
Tottie, now 3-0-1 from 12 starts and earnings of $116,484, is out of the Komaite mare Katy Nowaitee. She was bred in England by Lawn Stud.
The winner paid $5.60, $3.80, and $3.20. The exacta (11-5) returned $38.60 and the trifecta (11-5-9) was $483.40 for $1.