Don't Tell Sophia wins the Bayakoa Stakes.

Don't Tell Sophia wins the Bayakoa Stakes.

Coady Photography

Don't Tell Sophia Rolls to Bayakoa Repeat

Nine-time winner overcomes slow start to score by three lengths at Oaklawn Feb. 16.

Don't Tell Sophia wasn't in a hurry leaving the gate, but she quickly got herself into gear and easily drew off to win her second straight $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes  (VIDEO) Feb. 16, scoring by three lengths as the 2-5 favorite at Oaklawn Park.

Last year, the 6-year-old Congaree  mare won both the Pippin and Bayakoa at Oaklawn and she repeated her Pippin victory Jan. 18. She has won four of six starts at the Arkansas track and was third in last year's Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I).

Don't Tell Sophia was timed in 1:44.78 for her repeat Bayakoa win on a fast track with Channing Hill aboard for trainer Phil Sims, who co-owns the bay with Jerry Namy.

Breaking from the one hole, Don't Tell Sophia was last of 10 at the start as 7-1 second choice Sisterly Love set the early tempo of :23.12 and :46.68, and 1:12.43 for the first six furlongs. The winner moved into fourth approaching the quarter pole and by the time the field had straightened out for home, the only race left was for second place. Don't Tell Sophia opened up by five lengths and was ridden out the final eighth of a mile.

Late-running Dixie Strike got up for second, a length better than Sister Ginger, also third in the Pippin.

"She's an awful nice mare," Sims said of Don't Tell Sophia. "It's tough to win two races in a row. I appreciate all the support we got from the fans."

"That was fun," added Hill. "She always gives you a lot of confidence. She picked it right up at the half mile pole and did it all on her own."

Don't Tell Sophia, bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable out of the Valid Expectations mare Lost Expectations, improved her record to 9-4-2 from 19 starts and earned $592,882.

She returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.20 while toting top weight of 122 pounds. Dixie Strike, a 19-1 chance partnered by Norberto Arroyo Jr., returned $10.20 and $6.40 and finished off a $38 exacta. Sister Ginger, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., paid $3.80.