HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Godolphin homebred Antoinette, already a two-time stakes winner, notched the first graded triumph of her career with a front-running 2 ½-length score in Saturday’s $125,000 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 33rd running of the 1 3/16-mile The Very One for older turf females was the eighth of nine stakes, eight graded, worth $1.475 million on a blockbuster 14-race program, immediately preceding the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds on the road to the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa March 27.
Antoinette ($9.20) gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second stakes win on the day, following Annex in the $100,000 Palm Beach, also on the grass. It was the first race for the 4-year-old daughter of Hard Spun since running eighth in the Valley View (G3) last October.
Belle Laura, most recently third in the Marshua’s River (G3) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream, broke sharply from the gate and went to the lead with Antoinette tracking on the outside. By the first turn Antoinette and jockey Jose Ortiz had rolled to a lead they would not relinquish, cruising through fractions of 23.98 seconds, 49.11 and 1:13.24.
Antoinette was still in control approaching the top of the stretch and had plenty left when set down by Ortiz to hold off a three-way battle for second that went to Belle Laura on the inside, with Sister Hanan third and Tuned fourth. War Like Goddess made a big move from last to get up for fifth.
$125,000 The Very One (G3) Quotes
Winning trainer Bill Mott (Antoinette): “I thought it was possible that she could wind up on the lead. I wasn’t sure, but we thought if she wasn’t on the lead she’d be up close. It looked like when they left there she was going to be laying second and she just kind of took him to the lead around the first turn. [Jockey Jose Ortiz] did a nice job of rationing out the speed.”
Winning jockey Jose Ortiz (Antoinette): “[Belle Laura] came out early on and I was happy to sit off him, but my horse was going so easy. They decided to pull back and I was able to take any easy lead and she was there for me the whole time. She’s a big mare and she has a lot of stamina.”
“Bill doesn’t say much. He told me to go forward and try to be 1-2. That was my plan, to be 1-2 and I was very comfortable going to the backside. She relaxed really nice and she gave me a great run turning for home.”
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Antoinette (Coglianese Photos)