March 23, 2019

Andina del Sur prevails in tight Florida Oaks finish

Andina del Sur heads to the winner's circle under jockey Julien Leparoux after taking the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, March 10, 2018 (c) SV Photography

It was three fillies on the wire of Saturday’s $150,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, but Don Alberto Corporation’s homebred Andina del Sur pulled off the head victory with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard.

The Giant’s Causeway filly settled near the rear of the field early as first Jehozacat and then Closer Still set the opening half-mile through splits of :23.62 and :48.74. Jehozacat suddenly was pulled to the outside rail by her rider and eventually eased.

Closer Still tried to continue her momentum into the lane, fighting back against Andina del Sur and Goodthingstaketime on the turn, but was unable to keep up as that pair drew off in the stretch. Altea came racing up on the outside to challenge late, and those three crossed under the wire together.

Andina del Sur managed to stick her head in front from between her rivals, finishing 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf in 1:42.37. Goodthingstaketime got her nose in front of Altea for second, and it was 2 1/2 lengths back to Cash Out, who completed the top four under the wire after rallying from the back to stick her neck in front of 2-1 favorite Salsa Bella on the line.

Completing the order of finish were Almond Roca, Beckoning, Peach of a Gal, Souper Striking and Closer Still.

Andina del Sur was sent off the 13-1 sixth choice in the 11-strong field and returned $28.20 for the win. The Tom Albertrani-trained miss broke her maiden by two lengths in her debut over Belmont Park’s turf October 28, then ran third in both the January 6 Ginger Brew Stakes and February 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park to kick off her sophomore campaign. She is now 4-2-0-2 in her career having banked $154,100 lifetime.

The Kentucky-bred chestnut is the first registered stakes winner out of the multiple Grade 2-placed stakes-scoring Singspiel mare Andina and comes from the same black-type rich female family as French champion and successful sire Polish Precedent.