March 23, 2023

Haughty returns in Soaring Softly off key Breeders’ Cup race

Belmont Park (Coglianese Photography)

Soaring Softly S. (G3) — Race 9 (5:12 p.m. ET)

The form of last November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) has so far worked out very well, which is good news for Haughty as she makes her return to racing on Saturday in the $100,000 Soaring Softly S. (G3) at Belmont Park.

Sent off at 6-1 in the Breeders’ Cup following a four-length maiden win at Keeneland, Haughty rallied in the final furlong to finish third, less than a length behind Pizza Bianca. Winner last week of the Hilltop S., Pizza Bianca is now bound for Royal Ascot, while Breeders’ Cup runner-up Malavath won the Prix Imprudence (G3) in her season debut April 7. Cachet, who finished fourth, won the 1000 Guineas (G1) and was narrowly beaten in the French equivalent in her follow-up.

The seven-furlong Soaring Softly is enhanced by a trio from the barn of trainer Christophe Clement, who saddled 2021 winner Bye Bye. Derrynane is the most accomplished, having won a stakes at Woodbine last September before finishing a close fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2). Derrynane missed by a neck in her season debut, the April 15 Limestone S. at Keeneland going 5 1/2 furlongs, and should appreciate the added distance. Clement will also rely on Anador, second in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream last month, and English import Breeze Easy.

Chardy Party won her debut at Keeneland on April 27 as the 9-5 favorite, but it was the manner of her victory that set the track abuzz. Off slow in the 5 1/2-furlong dash and 10 lengths behind with a quarter-mile to go, Chardy Party turned in an incredible rally to win by a half-length for trainer Wesley Ward.

A pair of graded winners shorten up in the Soaring Softly after faltering in longer races recently. Sail By, who upset the Miss Grillo (G2) last fall, faded to third in the April 24 Memories of Silver S. despite setting a slow pace, while Sweet Life (G3) heroine Ouraika finished well behind stablemate Spendarella in the Appalachian (G2) at Keeneland when last seen.

Another filly to watch for is Lost My Sock, who won her debut over six furlongs at Aqueduct as a 51-1 chance last December and finished an even fourth in the aforementioned Limestone at Keeneland at similar odds.