Staten Island pounced on her foes in the $75,000 Arizona Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Turf Paradise, drawing away to a 2 3/4-length victory for locally based trainer Kevin Lewis at odds of better than 5-1.
After vying for the early lead with three other competitors, Sandi Gann wisely decided to take Staten Island off the pace as the field turned onto the backstretch. Meanwhile, Against the Law, Primal Cat, Torrance continued to duel through fast fractions of :22.52 and :46.02.
“There was a lot of speed, so I took her back and got her to settle,” explained Gann.
Staten Island advanced on the far turn, moving between Summertime and the tiring Against the Law. Primal Cat had a tenuous lead at the quarter pole, running three quarters in 1:11.47 before being inhaled by the rapidly closing Staten Island, who took charge without encouragement from Gann.
Gann gave Staten Island a tap at the three-sixteenth pole, opening up from the remainder of the field. Staten Island completed the mile in 1:37.54 under a mild drive. The late-running Slew o’Platinum, who had defeated Staten Island in the Sun Devil Stakes, emerged from the back of the pack to finish second, crossing the wire 3 ¾ lengths ahead of third place finisher Torrance.
“When I took the lead I was afraid it may have been too soon," Gann said. "She pricked her ears and relaxed and I had to keep her attention on the race.”
Staten Island’s trainer Lewis was quick to praise winning Gann for her ride.
“The rider won this race,” said Lewis. “Sandi made all the difference.”
Staten Island is a dark bay or brown filly by In Excess and out of Kits Peak by Pine Bluff. She was bred in Arizona by her owner Dennis Weir.
The Arizona Oaks was Staten Island’s third win and second stakes victory from six career starts, having won the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity for Arizona-breds at Turf Paradise as a 2-year-old. Staten Island’s earned $45,000 for her Arizona Oaks triumph, boosting her career earnings to $95,987.
She paid $12.80, $7.40 and $5.20. Slew o’Platinum returned $5 and $3.40. Torrance was $10.20 to show.