Earlier this year, Bill Mathis purchased controlling interest in the 3-year-old filly Sophia's Song after trainer Todd Pletcher told him of the filly's potential after she won an allowance optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park.
The potential Pletcher spoke of was in clear view Saturday at Laurel Park when Sophia's Song was never headed and ran away from five other fillies to win the $75,000 Caesar's Wish by four lengths over Wide Country Stakes winner Great Soul.
Jockey Victor Carrasco could have won by as many as he wanted, continually looking behind him for a threat that never materialized. A daughter of Bellamy Road , Sophia's Song covered the mile in 1:38.40.
Co-owned by Head of Plains Partners LLC, Sophia's Song, who finished second in her debut at Woodbine in October, has now reeled off three consecutive victories by 11 3/4 lengths.
"She was able to get out to a comfortable lead without much pressure," said Pletcher at Gulfstream Park. "She still tends to drift a bit in the stretch and that's something we're working on, but I thought it was a solid effort."
Breaking on top, Carrasco looked nothing more than a passenger as Sophia's Song, the 1-5 favorite, cruised through fractions of :24.48, :48.07 and 1:12.67.
"I think the way the race unfolded she kind of found herself on the lead and we didn't want to take away what comes naturally for her," Pletcher said. "All in all, we're very happy with her performance."
Mathis, who flew from Oklahoma with his family to watch the race, campaigned My Miss Sophia, who was trained by Pletcher and won the Gazelle (gr. II) and was second in the 2014 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) behind eventual champion Untapable.
"We had pointed her down there (at Gulfstream) for the Davona Dale (gr. II, Feb. 27), but we didn't feel she was quite ready for that competition with Cathryn Sophia so we thought it was better to come up here and try this race and see if we can get her to win a stakes race, and that's what happened," Mathis said. We're thrilled and taking it one step at a time. Hopefully, better things to come.
"Clearly, there's a lot of options when you have a 3-year-old filly right now."
Owned by Stonehedge and trained by Edward Allard, Abiding Star soared in the 1 1/16 mile Private Terms under jockey Jevian Toledo, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Flash McCaul. Whiskey Tree was third and favored Marengo Road was fourth in the six-horse field.
A son of Uncle Mo , Abiding Star has been a work in progress. The colt has won his last three starts after breaking his maiden in his seventh attempt for a $40,000 claiming tag Jan. 1 at Laurel.
"He's just maturing... coming into himself," said Allard's wife and assistant trainer Mary Allard. "Typically, 3-year-old colts, they're not always real smart. Sometimes they need more time to get themselves together. And he's getting things together.
"He's happy, training really good, doing really well."
Breaking from the six post, Toledo simply took Abiding Star to the front in front of Whiskey Tree and cruised through fractions of :24.89, :49.66 and 1:15.02. The colt had a three-length lead entering the stretch before coming home in 1:46.61. Flash McCaul rallied around the far turn for the place.
"We thought if he made the lead and kept it at a nice, decent pace, we thought he'd get the job done," Allard said.
Allard said there are no firm plans for Abiding Star, but he could possibly be a late nomination for the Triple Crown, with a return to Laurel for the April 9 Federico Tesio, a "Win & You're In" for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).