Souper Striking Gets First Stakes Win in Hilltop

For a filly who doesn't always make life easy for her connections, Souper Striking sure treated her team to an experience May 18 that was devoid of any drama.

Live Oak Plantation's homebred daughter of Brilliant Speed made it up to trainer Michael Trombetta for a being a challenge to deal with most mornings when she turned the six-horse $100,000 Hilltop Stakes into a one-woman show during her frontrunning 6 1/4-length victory over the soft Pimlico Race Course turf Friday.

Trombetta referred to Souper Striking as "heavy-headed" due to her propensity for always wanting to be on go. In her first outing since finishing ninth during her first stakes try in the March 10 Florida Oaks (G3T) at Tampa Bay Downs, the bay filly harnessed that energy for good during the one-mile Hilltop.

With jockey Julian Pimentel in the saddle, Souper Striking faced some early prompting from Judge Lee but was able to get a clear advantage and coast along through fractions of :26.18 and :53.40. There would be no threatening the 3-year-old filly after that pace.

"She is actually pretty difficult to train," Trombetta said. "Julian has done a great job to get her to settle. He knew what the challenges were, and, fortunately, with that other horse breathing down her neck, she did really well. She really thrives on training and … I'm just really proud of her."

Souper Striking put things away in the stretch, kicking clear under right-handed urging to earn her first stakes victory in nine career starts and third win in five starts since being switched to the turf in late December.

"She was going pretty comfortable," Pimentel said. "She seems to enjoy that surface, so it worked out well for us. Nobody came to pressure us or anything."

Sent off as the 7-5 favorite in a field that featured five scratches—including graded stakes winner Thewayiam—due to the wet going, Souper Striking covered the distance in 1:51.72. Secret Message came on for second with Peach of a Gal third.

Souper Striking was bred in Florida out of the Empire Maker  mare Gold Empire.

Video: Hilltop S. (BT)