May 26, 2024

Shantisara outduels Brown stablemate Higher Truth in Jockey Club Oaks

Shantisara tops Higher Truth in the all-Chad Brown exacta in the Jockey Club Oaks (Photo by Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos)

Chad Brown sent out the exacta in Saturday’s $671,000 Jockey Club Oaks as Shantisara wore down stablemate Higher Truth. Earlier, Flying P Stable colorbearers ran one-two in the $291,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club, although it was unheralded Locally Owned who floored odds-on Lone Rock.

Jockey Club Oaks

Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Robert V. LaPenta’s Shantisara stepped up from a good-looking win in the Aug. 14 Pucker Up (G3) to topple a deeper field at Belmont Park. With Flavien Prat back aboard, the 4.70-1 chance took up a closer position to track Higher Truth, the 2.20-1 favorite, in a paceless race.

Higher Truth had placed in the first two legs of the turf series, finishing third in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and second in the Saratoga Oaks (G3), and an enterprising ride nearly put her in the winner’s circle here. Jose Ortiz seized the early initiative and nursed her along through slow fractions of :25.51, :51.70, 1:18.12, and 1:43.38 on the firm inner turf.

Shantisara was the only rival with a realistic chance once Higher Truth turned on the turbo. Able to quicken in tandem, the daughter of the Kodiac stallion Coulsty edged past by a half-length. Shantisara negotiated 1 3/8 miles in 2:16.91 and paid $11.40.

French shipper Harajuku, who was expected to race in a stalking spot, found herself out of position after veering out at the start. Last through the opening mile, the Andre Fabre pupil made a nifty move into the stretch for Ryan Moore, a late sub for Stephane Pasquier. But Harajuku had left herself too much to do in the hottest part of the race, and she checked in another two lengths astern in third.

Godolphin’s Creative Flair, the Saratoga Oaks third, was once again unable to make the lead in New York. After drafting in third early, she couldn’t summon the requisite turn of foot and wound up a one-paced fourth. Concluding the order of finish were Madone and Baby Blythe, who pulled early in this first attempt outside maiden company. Be Up was scratched.

Shantisara more than quadrupled her earnings to $484,784 from her 8-4-2-0 line.

“She was super relaxed,” Prat told NYRA publicity. “I thought it was a great run. I was very confident going into the race. Obviously, it was a step forward for the distance. She broke well and got herself into the race. She took a nice breather around the turn, and when I asked to move, she came through.

“Going first time at the distance, I was a bit worried she’d come back on me. But she handled it really well. Plus, it was an easy pace, so that probably helped us as well.”

Brown commented on how his duo capitalized on the race shape:

“I was just hoping for some separation with the two and letting them battle it out. I was really looking behind those two to see if anyone was going to make a kick off that slow pace. Fortunately, when they started to widen, it looked like it was a two-horse race, so I was relieved and happy either way it would’ve turned out. It’s too bad there had to be a loser in the race…

“She (Shantisara) had stayed a mile and a quarter before we bought her, albeit against lesser company over (in France) and did it well. I was confident that she would handle the distance. In these races, it’s just a matter of if you’re good enough. When you have these horses from Europe come in with top trainers, I don’t know what they’re going to do. I’m guessing they’re well-meant and scary. The only thing you can do is control the horses you have. The pace favored us today, and it doesn’t always go that way…

“Higher Truth ran her heart out on the lead. Jose gave her another great ride. She’s the only filly that ran in all three legs of the Turf Triple and ran great in all three legs to show her constitution. Jose gave three masterful rides in all three and she came up just a little bit short each time.”

Both Shantisara and Higher Truth could point for the American Oaks (G1) late in the year at Santa Anita.

Bred by Oliver Donlon in Ireland, Shantisara was initially a bargain buy for 10,000 guineas at last year’s Tattersalls Guineas Breeze Up Sale. The bay was fifth in her Compiegne debut, then found her comfort zone on the all-weather and romped in a claimer over the Chantilly Polytrack. Claimed by Patrick Dreux, Shantisara remained on the all-weather for new trainer Frederic Rossi, winning at Marseille Pont de Viveaux and placing at Cagnes-Sur-Mer.

At that point, Sol Kumin acquired her. After she trailed in the Feb. 14 Prix de la Californie, Shantisara joined Brown stateside. A belated second in her U.S. debut in Monmouth’s Boiling Springs S. June 26 set her up for her Pucker Up breakthrough.

Out of the Dalakhani mare Kharana, Shantisara counts as her fourth dam French co-champion Kozana, ancestress of dual classic hero and transatlantic champion High Chaparral.

Grand Prix American Jockey Club

The day’s lone dirt stakes witnessed a major upset as the 18.50-1 Locally Owned rode the rail to stun 1-10 favorite Lone Rock. Flying P Stable had the exacta as the sole owner of Locally Owned and co-owner of Lone Rock.

Trained by Tom Morley and ridden by Dylan Davis, who compiled a three-win day, Locally Owned was anchored in last of the quintet early. Lone Rock attended pacesetter Mo Gotcha through splits of :50.54 and 1:17.20 and briefly headed him at the mile mark in 1:42.24. Mo Gotcha regained the advantage, but by the time he reached 1 1/4 miles in 2:06.40, Locally Owned emerged as the threat.

Cutting the corner for home, Locally Owned drove to the front and stayed on for the length of the stretch. Lone Rock lacked his usual verve, but tried hard to rack up his fifth straight win. His skein ended as Locally Owned maintained a one-length advantage, finishing 1 5/8 miles in 2:44.60. Mo Gotcha held third another 2 3/4 lengths back.

A $40,000 claim at Fair Grounds in February, Locally Owned thrived in this first chance at a marathon trip, returned $39, and improved his resume to 24-5-5-5, $461,431. The five-year-old gelding had placed to the likes of War of Will and Sprawl earlier in his career for G M B Racing and Al Stall. He beat Chess Chief in a Churchill Downs allowance last November, but trailed behind Maxfield in his stakes debut in the Tenacious S. Locally Owned has been hit or miss for his new connections, winning at Belmont Apr. 30 and finishing a distant second to You’re to Blame in an off-the-turf event at Saratoga two back.

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings in Kentucky, the $250,000 Keeneland September yearling is a son of Distorted Humor and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Fiftyshadesofhay, by Pulpit.